Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland actually underwent micro-fracture surgery on his knee last week, requiring a longer recovery time than if he had just had arthroscopic surgery, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.
During micro-fracture surgery, a doctor made very small breaks in Holland's kneecap. Doing this helps stimulate cartilage growth and will allow Holland to heal more fully. However, it will keep him out longer than originally expected. When it was first announced that he had a surgery, it appeared likely he would miss the beginning of the season. Now, Holland is out until sometime around the All Star break.
Holland, 27, said the injury occurred in a freak incident where he fell down the stairs while playing with his dog a little over a week ago. His dog ran by him on the stairs, causing him to slip and for his knee to go hard into a step. An MRI following the incident showed torn cartilage in the knee.
The Rangers now are left to scramble options to cover a now-vacant spot in their rotation. Tanner Scheppers has been told to stretch out his arm this season and may be a leading candidate to move into a starting role. He was a top prospect in the minors, but worked primarily out of the bullpen. In 2013, Scheppers was one of the Rangers' top relievers as he threw in 76 games and posted a 1.88 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 24 walks.
Nick Tepesch, Colby Lewis, Robbie Ross and Jose Contreras are the other top contenders to take over in the Rangers' rotation. It's possible the team could also enter the running for a free agent starting pitcher. Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo and Matt Garza all remain on the market at this point. Garza spent the last half of 2013 with Texas. However, the Rangers would likely only consider a free agent option if they come on a fairly short-term deal.