Holland scratched, allowing Baker chance to fill in

Holland scratched, allowing Baker chance to fill in

ARLINGTON -- For more than four months, Scott Baker has been the pitcher called upon when the Rangers had a dire need. That was again the case on Saturday, when Derek Holland was scratched from his final start of 2014 because of a migraine headache.

Baker made his first start since Sept. 5. He has been sidelined with triceps tendinitis but he did warm up in the bullpen in the eighth inning during Friday's game.

Holland was supposed to make his sixth start, as he missed five months while recovering from offseason knee surgery. The Rangers are still planning to pitch Nick Martinez in the final game of the season on Sunday, though manager Tim Bogar said after Saturday's game that the Rangers might switch to Holland

Baker has been a valuable utility pitcher all season, with the ability to go from the bullpen to the rotation almost on the spot. He went into Saturday's start with a record of 3-4 with a 5.52 ERA in seven starts and 17 relief appearances. He was 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts and six relief appearances after the All-Star break.

"This year, I don't know if special is the right word, but there was a lot of opportunity for me because a lot of games didn't go the Rangers' way," Baker said. "That afforded me the opportunity to pitch, but that's an anomaly."

Baker, who turned 33 last week, was a starter for the Twins from 2005-11, going 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA. He'll be a free agent after the season, and he is hoping to get a chance to start somewhere in 2015.

"I think the one thing I wanted to do this year is be healthy and show that I have some versatility," Baker said. "I don't know where a year like this leaves me. I think there will be some teams interested, teams always need pitching. I think I am more than capable of being a productive starting pitcher as long as I'm healthy and get regular starts and regular innings."

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