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Holland not allowing as many home runs

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ARLINGTON -- Only four pitchers gave up more home runs than left-hander Derek Holland last season, but he doesn't feel the issue was as big of a problem as it played out.

Holland allowed a career-high 32 home runs, tied for fifth most in baseball with the Orioles' Tommy Hunter. He also gave up 1.6 homers per nine innings.

"My home runs weren't that bad last year," Holland said. "You guys blew it up and made it seem like I gave up all kinds of home runs when I really didn't give up all that many, to be honest."

While Holland admits the number is still high, he said he'd rather throw too many strikes than not throw enough.

"Would you rather me give up home runs or walk people?" Holland said. "You got to throw strikes. If you're not throwing strikes, then you're obviously not doing the right job.

"Yes, you can't really defend a home run, but you have a better chance at robbing it. You can't rob a walk. That's going to be my Yogi Berra quote of the day."

Holland has improved in that area this season, allowing only four home runs in 10 starts. His walks per nine innings have slightly dipped as well, from 2.7 to 2.3. It's all part of a solid start he's had, with a 4-2 record and a 2.97 ERA. Holland said he's improved on his location this season.

"I've felt like I've done a better job pitching in and out, controlling the zone and staying out of the middle, for the most part," Holland said. "There's never a day that doesn't go by that you can't get better."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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