Rangers left-hander Derek Holland pitched five solid innings for the win in his first Triple-A rehab start on Wednesday but indicated he's not quite ready for a return to Texas.
Holland, who injured his shoulder on June 1, is due to be reevaluated following his outing for the first-place Oklahoma City RedHawks, a 4-2 victory over the Round Rock Express.
"I feel like I could use another start out here and keep working," Holland said. "I haven't gotten to see many live hitters, so this is good for me."
Holland suffered mild inflammation in his rotator cuff after throwing 43 pitches in a start against Minnesota on May 30, landing on the 15-day disabled list. He was shut down on June 11 after feeling pain in the shoulder and has gradually worked his way back, throwing bullpen sessions, simulated games and, finally, a three-inning rehab start in the Rookie-level Arizona League on July 24 after tweaking his right knee.
Wednesday was his first opportunity to face hitters above the Rookie level in more than two months. He struck out one, walked two and allowed just one hit, a solo homer to fellow Major League veteran Chris Shelton.
The lefty, who wore a brace on his knee, faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings, erasing both walks with a pickoff and double play.
"I was anxious to get out there," Holland said. "I was a little upset with the walks, but the main thing was just to be able to control the game and stay ahead of hitters and keep the ball down."
RedHawks pitching coach Terry Clark agreed with his starter, suggesting the southpaw needs a few more innings.
"He's not ready to go back to the big leagues," Clark said. "He needs one more start, maybe two. We'll see how he does. But he's going to have to show me his harder slider and throw his changeup for strikes before he goes anywhere."
Holland's only blemish came in the fifth when Shelton deposited a 3-2 slider over the left-field fence.
"It was just one of those things where you tip your hat to him," Holland said. "I left the ball up a little bit, but maybe a little better slider would get him out."
Holland threw 60 pitches, 35 for strikes. According to the team, he threw 45 fastballs, 11 sliders, three curves and one changeup.
"I felt good about my results," Holland said. "I attacked the zone and let my defense make plays behind me, and the offense showed up real good."
Holland began the season at Oklahoma City, making six starts before getting called up in early May. He was the Rangers' 25th-round pick in the 2006 Draft.