February 22, 2024

Royals closer now an all star


Kansas, City, Mo (AP)-McDowell’s second major leaguer is now the county’s first big league All-Star.

Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland, a former McDowell High and WesternCarolinaUniversity standout, was a late selection to the American League squad Sunday by manager Jim Leyland of the Tigers.

The annual midsummer classic is set for Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York.

Holland was initially passed over by Leyland, but will replace the Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma, who pitched Sunday and won’t be ready to throw Tuesday.

Holland, in his fourth season in the majors, has emerged as one of the AL’s most dominant closers. Coming into the weekend, he was 22-for-24 in save opportunities with a 2-1 overall record and a 1.80 earned run average. Holland had fanned 60 batters and walked just 11 in 35 innings of work. He leads the major leagues in strikeouts per nine innings and strikeouts per batters faced.

Holland, 27, became just the second McDowellCounty major leaguer and the first in 65 years when the Kansas City Royals elevated him to the major league roster in July, 2010. Not since Leon ‘Red’ Treadway played for the New York Giants in 1944 and ’45 had a McDowell player been promoted to baseball’s biggest stage.

Since joining the Royals, Holland had posted a 14-7 record with 42 saves in 50 chances. His career ERA was a shiny 2.74, and he had struck out 248 batters against just 72 walks.

Holland’s selection to the All-Star Game is historic in other ways as well. According to baseball-reference.com, he is the first WesternCarolinaUniversity product to make an All-Star team. And according to baseball-almanac.com, Holland is only the second western North Carolina native (from Marion west) to make the All-Star Game. New York Giants pitcher Cliff Melton (Brevard) was picked for the 1942 classic, but did not play in the game.

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