Derek Holland throws off mound for first time since January microfracture knee surgery

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From Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas comes word that Rangers left-hander Derek Holland threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas — his first time atop a mound since he underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee back on January 10.

It was a nice first step for Holland, who is expected to be sidelined until the middle of the 2014 season.

The 25-year-old southpaw posted a strong 3.42 ERA (120 ERA+), 1.286 WHIP, and 189 strikeouts in 213 innings last season for the Rangers. He signed a five-year, $28 million contract extension with Texas in March 2012.

Holland injured his knee this winter when his dog ran into him on a staircase at his home.

MLB calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate”

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Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.

This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:

“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline.  Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires.  We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.