KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Following his removal as closer, the Kansas City Royals announced on Thursday that relief pitcher Greg Holland is out for the season with a right elbow injury. The team says in a news release that Dr. Neal ElAttrache will determine the extent of Holland's injury at a Los Angeles orthapaedic clinic next week. FOX 4's Al Wallace reports Holland has suffered a ligament tear in that elbow.
"It's pretty difficult, especially the situation we're in with a good team looking to win one more game than we did last year. At the end of the day it's what's best for the team and for me personally. It's a tough decision, but it's one we made collectively," Holland told reporters on Thursday.
“I don’t really know how to explain it; just been a lot of discomfort. It’s been a long season for me, but it’s something I feel like I owed my teammates to try to work through, get back to where we were last year,” Holland continued.
Holland entered 2015 coming off of two spectacular All-Star seasons where he posted 93 saves combined. He was vital to KC's run through the 2014 postseason to the World Series with seven saves; three of them coming in extra innings. He only allowed a single run and four hits in 11 appearances for the American League champions.
However, his earned-run average rose sharply to 3.28 this season after it was 1.21 in 2013 and 1.44 in 2014. He also saw his strikeouts per nine innings rate drop below 10 for the first time in his career, and his average velocity sunk to a career low. As of Thursday he still ranks sixth in the American League with 32 saves, but manager Ned Yost replaced him as closer with Wade Davis earlier this week.
“It just got to the point where I had to sit him down and say, ‘look, I can’t use you as my closer anymore and I don’t have a defined role for you,’” Yost said on Thursday. “It’s like I told him, ‘Holly, it’s not your heart, it’s not your desire to win, it’s your arm that’s letting you down.’ But, that was something that he was willing to pitch through, he wanted to pitch through it. It just made more sense to go this route.”
Holland blew his fifth save of the year in a 5-4 loss at Detroit on September 18, which will go down as his last appearance of the season.