GM Jon Daniels “tapping the brakes” on sending Derek Holland out on rehab stint

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Rangers starter Derek Holland, out since mid-January after injuring his knee in a fall at home, feels ready to go out on a rehab assignment, but GM Jon Daniels is “tapping the breaks” on that idea, Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram reports. Holland had microfracture surgery on the knee and the team prefers the left-hander continue strengthening the muscles around the knee.

“We just don’t want him to be at risk,” Daniels said. “When he comes back, we want him to have confidence and us to have confidence that we’re not putting the knee at further risk or something else at risk because he’s compensating for it.”

Holland was hoping to build off of last season’s impressive campaign in which he finished with a 3.42 ERA and a 189/64 K/BB ratio in 213 innings. Getting him back as healthy as possible is important for the Rangers, as their rotation is a shambles after losing Martin Perez to Tommy John surgery and Matt Harrison to an uncomfortable-sounding back injury (spondylolisthesis).

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.