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February 21, 2013

Derek Holland to start first spring game for Rangers

Derek Holland starts Friday afternoon for the Rangers in the annual charity game against the Royals to kick off the Cactus League season.

Holland is scheduled for a 50-pitch, three-inning outing and is looking to start the 2013 season off right.

“I’m expecting big things out of myself,” Holland said. “We already know what No. 1 and 2 [Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish] can do, so I’ve got to do my job now. I didn’t have the year I wanted to last year, so it starts now.”

Two regulars who won’t be in Friday’s lineup are third baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter Lance Berkman. Both are dealing with minor injuries and the Rangers aren’t going to push them early in spring.

In their place will be Mike Olt at third and Jeff Baker at designated hitter. Baker is a player to watch this spring as he fits the bill as a right-handed bat off the bench who can play every infield position but shortstop and the corner outfield spots.

“It’s not easy, it’s not always fun, but it’s one of those things I’ve done it my whole career,” said Baker, 31. “You’ve got to take that mindset where the biggest goal is winning.”

-- Drew Davison


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