Holland faces ex-teammates as White Sox host Rangers (Jul 01, 2017)

BY AP • July 1, 2017

CHICAGO -- Derek Holland will face his his one and only former major league club on Saturday when the Chicago White Sox host the Texas Rangers.

Chicago's 30-year-old left-hander expects to have a good time against his old teammates, no matter the outcome.

"It's just going to be fun against them," said Holland, who was drafted by the Rangers in 2006. "Seeing all these guys, it's going to be hard to keep a straight face, but once game time starts, it's going to be time to focus up and do my job."

Holland played his first eight seasons with Texas, peaking with a 16-5 record as a 24-year-old in 2011, his third season.

He's 5-7 with a 4.26 ERA in his first season with the White Sox. Holland got a no-decision in his last start on Sunday despite allowing one run on four hits over six innings.

That was a step forward from previous outings: Holland is 1-4 with a 7.81 ERA with nine homers allowed in his last six starts.

The lefty says he's still adjusting after the knee and shoulder problems that have kept him from a full healthy season since 2013 and knocked him out the Rangers' rotation He signed a one-year $6 million deal with the White Sox last December.

"It's definitely different," Holland said. "Obviously I use some more off-speed. I'm still working with my fastball, but it's just not as hard as it was when I was with Texas.

"That's part of growing up and getting older and maturing -- finding ways to get people out."

The Rangers will counter with veteran left-hander Cole Hamels, who makes just his second start after a nearly two-month stint on the disabled list with an oblique strain.

In his first start back, last Monday at Cleveland, Hamels departed in the fifth inning after throwing 92 pitches with a 9-4 lead and the bases loaded. The 33-year-old eventually got a no-decision with a line of 4 1/3 inning pitched while allowing seven runs on eight hits.

Overall, Hamels is 2-0 with a 4.38 in six starts. Manager Jeff Banister said before Friday's game that he expects to see something closer to that form against the White Sox as the Rangers try to end a three-game losing streak.

Texas also will try to rebound from an 8-7 loss at Chicago on Friday night.

The Rangers led 7-5 heading into the ninth, but closer Matt Bush blew his fifth save in 15 chances. Three White Sox hitters singled off the right-hander before Melky Cabrera's double drove in two runs and ended the game.

"It wasn't a matter of not having it," Bush said. "I just struggled throwing my fastball up to put a guy away.

"I couldn't locate my heater up in the zone. It (stinks). It's terrible. I hate it."

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