BOSTON -- Rich Harden will make his second medical rehabilitation assignment start on Friday for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but Derek Holland remains behind working out in Surprise, Ariz. Harden, who has been on the disabled list since June 12 with a strained muscle in his lower back, is scheduled to be on a 70-pitch limit when he throws against Iowa. He will be on a 90-pitch limit against Iowa again Wednesday. A fourth start could be needed after that. Harden needs to show he is healthy, but he also has to show he is a better option than those in the current rotation.
Holland has been sidelined since the end of May with inflammation in his left shoulder. He has since been further delayed by a sprained right knee, an injury he also suffered in Spring Training. He is not ready to pitch in a Minor League game. Because this is the second time he has sprained his knee, the Rangers are being cautious in how hard they push him. "Of the two issues, the shoulder is feeling good," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "The knee is almost good, the only thing really standing in the way is working on his agility and plays off the mound. He is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Saturday and if that goes well, he could go on a rehabilitation assignment after that." Holland will likely need at least four rehabilitation starts before he is an option at the big league level. Again, right now there is no room in the rotation. "They have to beat out somebody in the rotation or take on another role," Levine said. "We want to make sure not only can they throw 90-100 pitches, but also make sure they're competitive and an upgrade over our current situation."