Holland, Martinez may be relief options

Rangers lefty feeling great after 'pen session, moving closer to rehab assignment

Holland, Martinez may be relief options

HOUSTON -- Rangers relievers unveiled their new T-shirts Friday night. The "Hawk's Nest" pays tribute to bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, and all the relievers were wearing them.

The question is if Derek Holland and Nick Martinez will soon be wearing them as well. The Rangers are openly looking for bullpen reinforcements, and Martinez and Holland could be options.

Martinez, who was 5-5 with a 3.43 in 16 starts, was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on July 2 and has pitched twice for the Express. His first outing was just four innings. On Thursday, he went just two innings. Martinez was used both as a starter and a reliever as a rookie in 2014.

Holland is still on the disabled list because of a strained muscle in his left shoulder, but said he felt great in a bullpen session Friday at Minute Maid Park.

"I'm probably exaggerating, but it felt like a rocket shooting out of my arm," Holland said.

The next step is another bullpen session Sunday, and then live batting practice sessions Tuesday in Colorado and next weekend in Anaheim. Holland could then be ready for a rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues.

If Holland follows the rehab protocol for a starter, he would likely get five or six starts in the Minor Leagues. That would mean it would be the end of August before he is ready to rejoin Texas' rotation.

Coming back as a reliever might accelerate the process.

"You discuss all options," manager Jeff Banister said. "You don't leave any option off the table. But in the same vein, this guy has been a starter and been a dynamic starter. We'd like to get him back in the rotation."

Holland said he doesn't care what his role will be.

"I just want to play," Holland said. "I'm trying everything I can. I want to be a part of this team."

Worth noting

Matt Harrison threw 85 pitches in a live batting practice session Thursday and said it went well. He is scheduled to pitch Tuesday in Colorado.

• The Rangers called up catcher Tomas Telis on Friday when Carlos Corporan went on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb. Telis was having a strong season at Round Rock, but Banister said Robinson Chirinos is still the No. 1 catcher. Telis will serve as the backup.

Wandy Rodriguez is supposed to start for the Rangers on Monday against Colorado, but could be used out of the bullpen this weekend in Houston.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.