Less than two years ago, Greg Holland had a phenomenal year as a reliever for the Kansas City Royals. He played in 48 games and came away with 32 saves, three wins and an ERA of 3.83.
Holland said that it was great experience to be in that clubhouse and to be with a group that was in position to win a championship. However, the reliever from Marion, North Carolina did not get the opportunity to join the team in the Royals’ postseason run that ended with a World Series championship.
Holland tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and Royals manager Ned Yost shut down the reliever on Sept. 24 for the rest of the season. At that point, the Royals were 89-63 and two weeks from postseason play.
Although he could only watch from the dugout, Holland said that he experienced the great environment of the clubhouse. He said it was so good that his teammates didn’t require any extra motivation.
“Once you get to a playoff setting, your adrenaline is so high that you don’t need any extra encouragement,” said Holland. “You got to let them go on and play the game.”
While his teammates went on to win the 2015 World Series, Holland underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 2. It took a year for him to rehab. That process initially started in Kansas City for a couple months before Holland traveled to Arizona. He rehabbed there for a couple months before returning home to North Carolina.
Holland said that it was the first time since he was in high school that he had spent the summer back home and was able to spend time with his family, especially his young son Nash.
“It was kind of a blessing in disguise,” said Holland. “I spent a lot of time with my son, who is two and a half and will turn three in October. I got to see him go from one to two years old.”
He said that Nash is getting to the age where he can comprehend what his dad’s job is.
“He likes going to the games and watching,” said Holland. “Hopefully, this year, he can come to some games and watch his dad pitch.”
Nash will have to head to Denver to see his dad pitch this season. Holland agreed to a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies on Jan. 28.
Rockies manager Bud Black said he likes the skill set Holland brings to the team.
“As a pitcher, I like his stuff,” said Black. “I like the fastball/slider combination and his curveball in the mix.”
Holland said this year’s Rockies has the same vibe as the 2015 Royals.
“It’s a talented, fairly young group,” said Holland. “They can do a lot of different things and the biggest component that I have noticed so far is how well the locker room meshes and flows.”
Both Black and Holland hope the final result is the same.
By John Alvarado