Holland fired a perfect seventh inning in which he recorded a strikeout during a loss to the Braves on Sunday. He's now generated six consecutive scoreless outings since his return to the big leagues following a stint on the disabled list. The former closer also boasts an impressive 8:0 K:BB over that stretch, which encompasses 5.2 innings overall. The only blemishes on Holland's record over that span are the pair of singles he's allowed, which has helped lead to a .105 BAA and .093 wOBA. Needless to say, this is the version of Holland the Cardinals thought they were getting when they inked him to a one-year, $14 million contract on Opening Day. While Bud Norris has subsequently taken firm possession of the ninth-inning role, Holland is increasingly regaining the confidence of manager Mike Matheny, which could lead to the occasional save opportunity as the rest of the season unfolds.
Holland, who fired a scoreless ninth inning in which he recorded two strikeouts in a loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, has now put together a pair of perfect frames and recorded four strikeouts overall in his two appearances since returning from a hip injury. To say Holland's first pair of appearances since his Tuesday activation have been a pleasant surprise would be an understatement. The veteran right-hander appeared close to a lost cause -- both prior to his injury and during his minor-league rehab appearances -- as he consistently had trouble finding the strike zone and pitched to a fair amount of contact. However, Holland could hardly be sharper since returning, as he's needed a scant 25 pitches to get six outs, with 20 of those offerings finding the strike zone. There may yet be a place in the St. Louis bullpen for the one-time closer, although it's unlikely he returns to any type of high-leverage role in the near future with Bud Norris mostly thriving in the ninth inning so far this season.
Holland (hip) returned from the disabled list Tuesday. Holland struggled at the major-league level before being shut down with a hip impingement in late May. He struggled again while rehabbing with Triple-A Memphis and Double-A Springfield. The right-hander is back in the majors but it's hard to imagine him working into the late-inning mix anytime soon. In a corresponding move, Matt Bowman was placed on the disabled list with blisters.
Holland (hip) will come off the disabled list in the coming days and will not make another minor-league rehab appearance, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. The news comes courtesy of manager Mike Matheny, who explained that Holland didn't exactly inspire much confidence in his rehab outings. The veteran right-hander allowed four earned runs on five hits and five walks over five minor-league appearances, exhibiting many of the same control problems that often got him into trouble at the major-league level prior to his injury. While Holland reportedly didn't make any specific mechanical adjustments during his rehab stint, Matheny relays that he told the Cardinals that "he's figuring it out." Naturally, Holland will need to corroborate that with results against big-league hitters, most likely in low-leverage situations until he proves himself over an extended stretch.
Holland (hip) fired a scoreless inning for Double-A Springfield against Arkansas on Saturday, allowing a hit and a walk while recording a strikeout. It was a slightly better effort for Holland, who's been struggling to varying degrees against all levels of competition during his rehab appearances. The right-hander managed to get 11 of 17 pitches into the strike zone, although he was unable to escape without allowing yet another walk. Holland projects to continue working out the kinks in the minors for the foreseeable future, and he could eventually shift back to Triple-A Memphis if the Cardinals want to test him against a higher caliber of hitter.