Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 3/8/13
Derek Holland had his big moment in the postseason of 2011 pitching what was arguably the best game in Texas Rangers history in Game 5 of the World Series. How Holland followed that up in 2012 is up for debate. Holland doesn't think it was as bad as some people think. The Texas left-hander, who is taking a break from spring training to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, was hampered by a stomach virus that led to shoulder fatigue and a sub-par year for Holland by some standards. He still managed to make 27 starts and won 12 games to go along with a 4.67 ERA. He was at his best over his final eight starts, going 5-1 with a 3.98 ERA. That's what he looks at when he thinks about 2012. "I don't see 2012 as a bad year," Holland said. "I don't see it as a good year either. It could have been better. But to go through what I did was quite good. I continued to grind and fight through things." Holland missed more than a month of the season following shoulder fatigue caused by the stomach bug. But his final numbers still ranked him second on the team with 145 strikeouts and third on the team in wins. For the first time in his big-league career, Holland also had to deal with the adversity of an injury and lofty expectations brought on by his 2011 finish and a new contract. "Leading up to missing time was when it all started," said Holland, who started getting sick in May and made just one June start before going on the disabled list. "I was trying to fight through things. I didn't want to be out of the lineup. I want to play but now I know there are times when you've just got to admit that you're not right and move on." Moving on is what Holland has tried to do from 2011. That's when he allowed two hits over 8 13 innings against St. Louis in the World Series, becoming the third-youngest starter at the time to post that stat line. That start put Holland in a national spotlight and raised the stakes for him in 2012. While it was a huge accomplishment, he doesn't want it to be the only big game of his career. "I don't think about it," Holland said. "It's over. It's great to reflect on it. It's an awesome accomplishment. You've got to turn the page. You can't live off that because then I can't have any other moments and I can't make myself better. I'm stuck in that. I don't want that." He did everything he could in the offseason to make sure that won't be the case. He worked out at Rangers Ballpark, picked the brain of team CEO Nolan Ryan and put most of his focus on baseball. The always affable Holland has tried to cut down on the extracurricular activities and has learned to say no to some of the requests. That doesn't mean he's not the same person or the same pitcher the Rangers signed to contract through 2016 that includes club options for 2017 and 2018. They don't want him to change either. "He gives off the vibe he's got something to prove," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We've seen what he's capable of. This guy has all the ability and no one's every questioned his work ethic. Like any of us, you've just got to simplify things and focus." Holland has worked on his mechanics and location this spring. He's also tried to avoid the deep counts that plagued him last year, leading to too many walks and too many pitches thrown. He's hoping all the work pays off and people can start talking about how good 2013 is going to be for him. "Everything's in place for me to have a good year," Holland said. "I'm healthy. I'm focused. I know what I need to do to have success. It's just a matter of me doing it now."
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