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.

Report: Astros, Ryan Pressly close to agreement on two-year, $17.5 million extension

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Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros and reliever Ryan Pressly are close to finalizing a two-year, $17.5 million contract extension, which will also include a third-year vesting club option. Rome notes that the extension is believed to be the largest, in terms of both total money and average annual value, for a reliever who is not a closer.

Pressly, 30, agreed to a $2.9 million salary for the 2019 season back in January, avoiding arbitration in his final year of eligibility. The Astros acquired Pressly from the Twins near the end of July in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Pressly posted a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings with the Twins and a 0.77 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with the Astros. In the playoffs, Pressly allowed just one run on one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts across five innings of work.

Along with Héctor Rondón, Pressly will once again help bridge the gap to closer Roberto Osuna.