KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers are still planning to keep Derek Holland in the rotation, and he's still scheduled to pitch on Thursday against the Mariners.
The Rangers have some options and they may consider them before Thursday, but right now, Holland is still in the rotation.
"He's still on schedule," Rangers manager Ron Washington said Sunday.
Holland gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings in a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Saturday night. He is now 1-5 with a 6.42 ERA in nine starts as opposed to 2-1 with a 5.48 ERA in 12 relief appearances.
Holland had a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth before the Royals scored one that inning and three more in the fifth to take the lead. Holland did not make it out of the fifth. He has pitched at least six innings in just two of nine starts.
"We've got to get this kid through the one inning that always seems to give him problems," Washington said.
The Rangers could go with Dustin Nippert and move Holland back to the bullpen. The Rangers believe that Holland is better suited for the bullpen at this point in his career and Nippert won his last start, holding the Red Sox to one run over 5 2/3 innings in a 3-1 victory last Wednesday in Arlington.
Nippert was making a spot start in place of Vicente Padilla, who was stricken with the flu. Padilla, continuing his recovery, is expected to return to the rotation on Tuesday against the Tigers. That will put Nippert back in the bullpen unless the Rangers decide to use him in Holland's spot.
"We'll discuss it and see where it goes," Washington said. "Right now, Holland is still penciled in his next start. Nippert has shown he can handle the situation, but that decision is not going to be made off the cuff. That's something we'll sit down and talk about."
The Rangers could also go with Doug Mathis, who has a 1.64 ERA on the season and has 17 scoreless innings over 10 relief appearances. The Rangers' best option in the Minors is Guillermo Moscoso, who is 3-2 with a 1.85 ERA in seven games, including six starts, at Triple A Oklahoma City.
"He's on the radar," Washington said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.