Closer Greg Holland back in Royals’ pen after sitting out with stiff neck

Reliever Greg Holland hasn't pitched since last Thursday at Texas.

Rick Osentoski/Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After sitting out Tuesday night’s save situation, Royals closer Greg Holland again is available out of the bullpen.

Holland woke up Tuesday morning with a stiff neck, an ailment Kansas City’s training staff worked on during the game. But Holland’s neck failed to loosen and manager Ned Yost opted for Wade Davis to throw the ninth inning in the Royals’ 3-0 win over Cincinnati.

Holland said his neck felt much better Wednesday and Yost confirmed that his closer would again be able to pitch. Holland hasn’t pitched since last Thursday against Texas.

Upcoming checkpoints 

Catcher Erik Kratz will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Omaha on Thursday. Kratz is recovering from plantar fasciitis and was eligible to return from the disabled list Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Kratz said he was as "100 percent as he needs to be" to play, but Yost said the rehab stint will be beneficial for Kratz to get some at-bats. The Royals are also delaying their decision on a backup catcher, with Drew Butera currently holding the spot.

Jason Vargas will throw a 35-40-pitch simulated game Friday after a successful bullpen session Tuesday afternoon. Vargas has been out with a left flexor strain since May 6.

You can follow Matthew DeFranks on Twitter at @MDeFranks or email him at matthew.defranks@gmail.com.