FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox continued their recent surge of lefty pitching acquisitions on Monday when they signed veteran Derek Holland to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training.
Holland, who has made 228 career starts, is viewed mainly as a reliever at this stage of his career.
At his best, Holland was a force, winning 16 games for the pennant-winning Rangers of 2011.
“More depth. That’s a veteran guy,” said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “A guy with experience. Played in the playoffs, played in the World Series. He will help us out for sure.”
First, the 35-year-old will have to emerge from a crowded lefty relief derby that also includes Josh Taylor, Austin Davis, Darwinzon Hernandez and two other recent acquisitions -- Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm.
“Good pitcher, can get lefties out, has good stuff and is obviously a veteran guy,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “You see the trend the last 10 days -- we have added a few lefties. They’re very important. Lefties that can get righties out, they’re good, and he’s been around. Looking forward to having him here and seeing him compete -- let’s see where it takes us.”
Of the 39 appearances Holland made for the Tigers last season, 38 were in relief and he had a 5.07 ERA. In fact, Holland has been used almost exclusively as a reliever since 2019.
In his career, Holland is 82-83 with a 4.62 ERA while logging 1,446 innings.
Spring Training homers are nothing new to the big righty slugger, who led the Grapefruit League with seven homers last season.
However, Dalbec is carrying himself with much more confidence entering his second full season, creating confidence he won’t have a massive early-season slump like last year.
“As soon as I called Bobby [after the lockout ended], he said, ‘I’m ready to go today,’” said Cora. “He has his routine now. He’s locked in with his routine. He trusts that. [Hitting coach] Pete [Fatse] has been with him a year and a half, two years. He understands his moves and what he wants to do. He’s in a great place. Hopefully we can bottle this until April 7 and he gets off to a good start.”
Nate gets first tune-up for Opening Day
Righty Nathan Eovaldi, who will start Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on April 7, made his first start of Spring Training on Friday. He went three innings and was dominant in the first two. Eovaldi fatigued in the third, giving up a couple of runs.
The original plan was for Eovaldi to get four starts prior to Opening Day. However, Cora said the plan could be a work in progress. The manager acknowledged the fine line to getting his pitchers ramped up for the season given the shortened Spring Training.
“That third inning, that’s the fine line between what we’re trying to accomplish and being careful,” said Cora. “It’s hot and he’s working, which is good. But at the same time, we have to be careful. We’ll see how he feels after this one and then we’ll reassess what we have to do. Nothing happened but it’s just one of those [things] where we have to be really careful with what we’re doing because of where we’re at and what he means to us.”