Pitching in relief no sweat for vet Holland

White Sox lefty retires lone man he faces, on track to start Tuesday

Pitching in relief no sweat for vet Holland

BOSTON -- Derek Holland's mound appearance during a 4-1 White Sox loss Saturday night at Fenway Park was the 201st overall in the left-hander's career.

But it was just his 22nd as a reliever and his first as part of the White Sox following 21 starts. Holland is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Astros and will stay on track to take the baseball after retiring Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt on a fly ball to left fielder Nicky Delmonico to end the seventh inning.

"I've done it before, so obviously getting the mindset is definitely easy to do," said Holland after throwing three pitches. "Getting ready is also something I've done before.

"It just clicked. It takes a second, but for the most part, once it's go time, it's go time. You've got to get the body ready to go and I knew what I had to do to do that. I told them I would be available."

The White Sox have followed this path before by using Mike Pelfrey in relief two times on his side days. Holland actually wanted to face left-handed-hitting Andrew Benintendi leading off the eighth, but stuck with the lone batter.

"You do the same thing basically, but you have a shorter time," said Holland of moving to the bullpen for one night. "As a starter, you get to take your time a little more and establish and work on things before going into a game.

"Here, you got it ready to go or you don't. When I came up through the Texas system, the one thing I learned is how to get myself ready to go right away and use it from there."

Holland said there's no panic about being ready to pitch effectively Tuesday. And with 50 earned runs allowed over his past 51 2/3 innings as a starter, the veteran had an interesting take about doing what he could to help the team.

"Me speaking on my own, I beat the bullpen up a little bit, so that was good for me to get out there and help them," Holland said. "Anything to help the team and help those guys that have been pitching all the time. I want to be able to do as much as I can and I felt I was able to do that tonight."

"Today was Holland's side day," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "We put him out there [Friday], but today we brought him in. Use him for a couple of hitters if we needed to. And then get him out."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.