Holland likely headed to 'pen this week

Holland likely headed to bullpen

BOSTON -- Derek Holland's best start as a Major Leaguer, at least according to the Rangers' pitcher and his manager, might not be enough to save the rookie southpaw from a demotion.

One night after rehabbing left-hander Matt Harrison (shoulder inflammation) allowed one run on three hits over three innings in a start for Double-A Frisco, Texas skipper Ron Washington said the 23-year-old Holland will likely return to the bullpen before Thursday's home game against Toronto.

Harrison, who struck out five in Saturday's 41-pitch rehab stint, will meet with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and Washington on Monday in Arlington to discuss whether the lefty will need another tuneup before being activated Thursday.

"We'll see how [Harrison] recovers," Washington said. "It's our expectation [that he'll be activated Thursday], but we'll talk about that [Monday].

"If Harrison is ready Thursday, then Holland will be in the bullpen."

Washington said there is no scenario in which Holland could remain in the rotation upon Harrison's return. The Rangers rotation also includes Scott Feldman, Brandon McCarthy, Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla.

"I can't see both of them in there," Washington said. "If that's the case, then we would need some help in the bullpen. Holland certainly gives us that length in the bullpen."

Holland, who limited the Red Sox to one run through four innings on Saturday night before faltering in the fifth, will likely supplant Kris Benson as the Rangers' long reliever. Benson (1-1, 8.46 ERA) was unimpressive in relief of Holland on Saturday, allowing four runs (three earned) over 2 1/3 innings.

John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.