Left-hander Derek Holland finished the 2014 season with a flourish, dominating in six September outings after working his way back from a left knee injury. With that taste of health and success to chew on over a long offseason, Holland enters 2015 as eagerly as anyone in Rangers camp.
Fortunate enough to have been on World Series teams with the Rangers twice by the time he was 25, Holland is now a veteran presence on a Texas team that, like Holland himself, is looking to leave some health issues behind to make 2015 a better year than the one before.
"In my case last year, the offseason hit and I wanted to keep playing," Holland said. "Now we get to start the season, and I've got all this energy and I'm ready to just let it go."
The 2014 season was the first speed bump in an otherwise strong start to Holland's career, which included those two trips to the Fall Classic in the Rangers' defeats at the hands of the Giants and Cardinals in 2010 and '11, respectively. Holland was sidelined with left knee surgery until his September surge last year, when he went 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in five starts and a relief outing.
Holland, 28, enters 2015 knowing he has much more to prove in his career.
"I definitely want to prove a lot," Holland said. "Obviously, everybody thinks about my knee, how's that, am I going to be OK? I showed a little bit at the end of the season last year, and now I'm going to show you a lot more this year. I'm a lot stronger, a lot healthier, a lot better. I feel confident with everything. I want to be able to show the fans that whatever happened last year, it's over."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.