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SURPRISE, Ariz. (CBS SPORTS) - Texas Rangers lefty Derek Holland, in keeping with the proud history of oddball lefties, is fond of doing impressions, sprouting high-school-senior-who-owns-a-Camaro mustaches, regaling fans and media and, on occasion, disrupting local weather reports.
But the Rangers, presumably in the service of better pitching, have asked Holland to tone down his routine just a bit.
Holland is coming off a season in which he posted a 4.67 ERA in 175 1/3 innings. That following a 2011 in which he won 16 games with four shutouts and pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series. For his career, the 26-year-old owns an ERA+ of 96 across 108 games, 90 of which have been starts.
Perhaps what Holland really needs to do is remember how to keep the ball on the ground. Last season, his fly-ball rate increased by 6.5 percentage points over 2011 levels — never a good idea when your home ballpark is Arlington.
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