8/20/2014 1:10 P.M. ET
Holland not quite ready to rejoin Rangers' rotation
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
MIAMI -- The Rangers see Derek Holland making progress in his recovery from offseason knee surgery. They still don't see him ready to return to the Major Leagues.
Holland, in his fifth start on a rehabilitation assignment, went five-plus innings for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday night, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 87 pitches in his longest outing with the Express.
"He got into the sixth inning," pitching coach Mike Maddux said after getting the report. "He was better out of the windup than the stretch. He got better as the game went on. He was up early, but got the ball down later. He had a productive changeup and slider. He maintained his fastball throughout the outing, which is good."
Holland's next outing is "to be determined," Maddux said. But it's unlikely to be at the Major League level, even though the Rangers need a fifth starter on Tuesday against the Mariners.
"I feel like I'm ready, but that's up to them," Holland said. "I can't decide too much. They have to figure out what the call is. I'm ready. The whole thing down there was just making sure I could finish and go as long as I could. I feel good."
"Derek Holland is still working," manager Ron Washington said. "If he keeps progressing, you'll see him. You're not going to see him soon, but you'll see him if he keeps progressing."
The Rangers have Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch and Miles Mikolas lined up to pitch vs. Seattle. They don't yet have a starter for Tuesday, and they are not expecting Yu Darvish to be ready to come off the disabled list. Robbie Ross could be recalled from Round Rock to make that start.
"When we get back home, we'll discuss what we're going to do," Washington said.
Struggling lefties rest vs. right-hander Eovaldi
MIAMI -- The Rangers faced right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday, and manager Ron Washington decided to sit two struggling left-handed hitters.
Jim Adduci, who was batting .172 entering the finale against the Marlins, and Mike Carp, who was 4-for-28 with the Rangers, were both out of the lineup. Instead, Alex Rios was in right field despite dealing with multiple nagging injuries, and J.P. Arencibia started at first base. Arencibia and Carp have been platooning at first base.
But Carp, who was claimed on trade waivers from the Red Sox on Aug. 3, is still trying to find his swing since leaving his limited role in Boston.
"I feel good," Carp said. "I'm putting some good at-bats together and some not-so-good at-bats. But I need to put together a string of good at-bats. I'd like to have better aim, but one week can change everything."
Adduci is 0-for-22 since his first Major League home run on Aug. 9 at Houston, and he is batting .122 in 27 games since coming off the disabled list on July 21. The Rangers want to take a good look at him because of his speed and athleticism, but he hasn't started to hit yet.
"He is struggling right now," manager Ron Washington said. "He's getting pitches to hit and he's not hitting them. We have been facing some tough pitching, and when you don't have your act together, they can make you look pretty bad. He doesn't have it all together.
"I'm just going to run him out there, because the opportunity is there. He's got to take advantage of it."
Buckel flashes signs of comeback in Minors
MIAMI -- Cody Buckel, once one of the Rangers' top pitching prospects, is starting to show signs that he is overcoming his serious control problems.
Buckel pitched two scoreless innings for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach on Tuesday night. He allowed one hit, two walks and three strikeouts. Buckel has a 3.00 ERA in five appearances in August. He has still walked 12 batters in 12 innings, but he allowed only eight hits and struck out 18.
"I give Buckel a lot of credit," farm director Mike Daly said. "He went down to Myrtle Beach, battled and showed a lot of improvement. He has thrown more innings. ... It has been a good year. Hopefully he'll continue to show improvement. It's there. He's shown flashes."
Buckel was the Rangers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2012, when he went 10-8 with a 2.49 ERA in 26 games (23 starts). In 144 innings, he struck out 159 and walked just 48. But '13 turned out to be a washout because of his control issues. Buckel pitched just 10 2/3 innings and walked 35.
Rangers boast top farm system in baseball
MIAMI -- The Rangers' eight farm teams went into Wednesday with the best overall record of any organization. Including the two Dominican Summer League teams, Texas' eight clubs had a .573 winning percentage. The D-backs were second at .555.
Double-A Frisco has already clinched a spot in the Texas League playoffs, as has Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. Both won their first-half titles, and they are still in first place in the second half. Myrtle Beach keeps winning, despite having 11 players promoted to Frisco during the course of the season. Class A Spokane won the first half in its division in the Northwest League.
"It all falls within the framework of development," farm director Mike Daly said. "Development is paramount, that's most important. But our players are competitive, and our coaches and managers are competitive. At the end of the day, you want to win the game.
"It also means something when you have to pick up a ground ball when the game is tied rather than seven runs down, or you have to come in and close down a close game."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.