Holland encourages youth to be active

Left-hander continues support of Fitness All-Stars

Holland encourages youth to be active

ARLINGTON -- Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland has already had a busy offseason.

Holland hosted the first major event for his charity -- the 60 Feet 6 Foundation. He went to Dubai. He took in the Ohio State-Michigan football game.

Now Holland is getting back into the swing of things as he prepares for the 2016 baseball season, which brought him back to Arlington on Thursday.

Holland was at Crow Elementary School as the spokesman for the 2015 Medical Center of Arlington/Rangers Fitness All-Stars. Holland, who kicked off his own offseason fitness program after the Thanksgiving break, stressed the importance of diet and exercise to the fifth-grade students.

"This is our future, so we've got to keep them going and keep them here," said Holland. "If I wasn't playing baseball, I'd be doing all I can to help these kids. It comes down to teaching them to eat the right foods and keep their bodies healthy. That way they can go out and perform and try to get to the level where I'm at right now."

This is the fourth year Holland has been involved in the fitness program. He said former teammates Michael Young and Ian Kinsler stressed the importance of giving back to the community. And for Holland, being involved with children comes naturally.

"I'm trying to pass along the knowledge I can, so when they're my age, they can give back to the community, too," he said. "They can see how much of a cycle this is."

While Holland spent Thursday throwing a head of lettuce to the Texas mascot, he's also been busy getting ready for the upcoming season. Microfracture surgery limited him to just six appearances in 2014, and a strained muscle in his right shoulder led to just 10 starts in 2015.

But Holland has been given a clean bill of health and will have no restrictions in his workout program.

"The big thing is getting the strength back, staying healthy," said Holland, who was 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA in his 10 starts. "There's a lot of motivation for me in the way the season ended. We should have accomplished more than we did, but that's how it happens. I have to get myself in shape, get myself where I need to be so I can be the pitcher I know I can be."

Holland, 29, is entering the final year of his guaranteed contract with the Rangers holding club options for both the 2017 and '18 seasons.

That's not something he's concerned about, though He's focused on getting the Rangers back to the World Series for the first time since 2011. The reigning American League West champs were knocked out in five games by Toronto in the American League Division Series, and Holland was the losing pitcher in Game 4.

"My goal is the same here, but at the same time I want to get a trophy," he said. "That's why we're all here. My personal goal is to bring a Cy Young to Texas. To do that, I've got to stay healthy. I've got to go out there and perform. It was a rough year last year, but I felt like I bounced back. I'm going to make the adjustments to do what I have to do to go out there and be successful."

Anthony Andro is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.