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Holland reunites with Beltre, animals in Texas

MLB.com @scottmerkin

ARLINGTON -- Even though Derek Holland didn't get to Texas from Los Angeles until early Thursday morning, the hurler was happy to be home.

Holland pitched eight seasons with the Rangers before moving to the South Side of Chicago. He got the reunions with old friends out of the way on July 1 at Guaranteed Rate Field, although he smiled when he said he plans to get even for that 10-4 loss when he starts on Saturday at Globe Life Park.

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ARLINGTON -- Even though Derek Holland didn't get to Texas from Los Angeles until early Thursday morning, the hurler was happy to be home.

Holland pitched eight seasons with the Rangers before moving to the South Side of Chicago. He got the reunions with old friends out of the way on July 1 at Guaranteed Rate Field, although he smiled when he said he plans to get even for that 10-4 loss when he starts on Saturday at Globe Life Park.

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But coming back to Texas means coming back to where baseball all began for the affable southpaw.

"Being able to come back home, that's huge," Holland said. "Being in front of the fans, this is where my career started. They took the risk of drafting me and they helped me become the person I am today, both on and off the field.

"We look at stats, and things aren't going the way they should right now, but this is where it all began. To be back home in front of these guys is a huge honor."

After talking to the media, Holland made a quick trip to the Rangers' clubhouse for a visit with third baseman Adrian Beltre. Holland had a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label engraved in honor of the Beltre's 3,000th career hit, and reiterated Beltre's great influence as a teammate.

"He's a guy you want to be like," said Holland, who mentioned Beltre and shortstop Elvis Andrus as one of the greatest and funniest combos of all time. "It has cost me a little bit a few times, trying to be like him and trying to play through some injuries. ... The dude has a heart of gold. He's out there always fighting, competing every single time. He does not want to come out of a game.

"You have a guy like him who has the leadership skills he does and the way he carries that team around and motivates everybody, that's somebody you want to be like. Michael Young was my first guy, and then to have Adrian Beltre come in after, that's huge. Those are two big guys right there to take over."

Holland also enjoyed a reunion with his array of animals at home, including his dog, Wrigley; his chinchilla, Chaz; and a sailfin dragon named Kenny that has grown to two feet. Holland would like to add an otter or even a penguin to his menagerie, but on Thursday he was happy just to visit with the pets he has.

"My chinchilla was excited to see me," he said. "He was flying up and down his cage. Honestly, I don't know if he knows it was me. Maybe it was just that I was giving him a treat. Just seeing the animals was cool. I thought that was exciting, and being able to be around them was fun."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Derek Holland