Derek Holland is a Major League Baseball Player.

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Two years ago this weekend, Wallace State-Hanceville Community
College lefthander Derek Holland was getting ready to face Gadsden State Community
College in a huge Alabama Community College Conference showdown.


Holland’s draft-and-follow clock was ticking down, with just
a few weeks remaining before he’d have to decide between taking the Rangers’
offer to sign and fulfilling his commitment to transfer from the Lions to
Arizona State, with an eye towards being drafted again in June 2008.


He chose to go pro.  The
Rangers’ decision to offer fourth-round bonus money to the 25th-rounder


One year ago today, Holland
secured his first win of the 2008 season, in what was his third appearance of the
year.  It was a decent enough Low A outing
– 5.2 innings in which the LumberKing lefty limited the Dayton Dragons to two
runs on two doubles, a single, and four walks, fanning six – but not the kind
that would suggest he’d end up going 13-1, 2.27 at three levels before allowing
one run in 20.2 AA playoff innings. 


And not the kind that had even the most intrepid minor
league baseball blogger figuring that the one-year anniversary of that start would
be commemorated this way:


The Texas Rangers have purchased the contract of lefthander Derek
Holland from Oklahoma City.  He will work, for now, out of the bullpen.


The Rangers have 10 days within which to trade Rupe, release
him, or (if they can get him through league-wide waivers) outright his contract
to the minor leagues.


As for Holland, who made five High A starts, seven AA starts
(including the playoffs), and one AAA start since his 7-0, 2.40 run with Clinton
a year ago, today is his normal day to pitch, having made that one Oklahoma
City appearance on April 13, a four-inning, four-run effort against Nashville
that came after a highly unusual 11 days of rest (due to the transition from
spring training to the AAA season plus an early RedHawks rainout).


But if he does get the ball sometime tonight, it will be anything
but a normal day to pitch for the 22-year-old from Newark, Ohio. 


This photograph . . .




. . . is of Holland
facing the Royals.  On March 4.


In relief of Kevin Millwood.


Results: Strikeout swinging, pop-out to shortstop, flyout to
left in the fourth.  Single to right,
groundout to mound, groundout to second, run-scoring infield single, groundout to
third in the fifth.


That appearance, the first of many that opened plenty of eyes
after Holland’s shaky Cactus League debut six
days earlier – also in relief of Millwood, also against Kansas City – didn’t count.


Now they do. 


Millwood faces the Royals in a couple hours, and the way he’s
been going, you hope Holland
isn’t needed tonight.  But he’s ready,
according to the team that found him in the 25th round, thanks to
scouts Jeff Wood and Rick Schroeder.


The last time Holland
spent more than three months with one team was in junior college.


That’s about to change.


And now Wallace State-Hanceville can claim that it has
produced a major league baseball player.


You can read more from Jamey


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