Derek Holland was taking one of his five pet lizards to a veterinarian in Texas on Wednesday when he was being introduced to media as the newest member of the White Sox.
A little more than a week after trading ace left-hander Chris Sale to the Red Sox, the rebuilding South Siders reached a one-year, $6 million deal with the 30-year-old free-agent left-handed starter.
Holland, who also owns a dog and a chinchilla, said the lizard is fine now after it had stopped breathing for a time Tuesday night. As for his decision to sign with the Sox after eight seasons with the Rangers, Holland hopes to breathe some life into his injury-hindered career and his new team.
Holland missed half of the 2014 season after tearing cartilage in his knee while playing with his dog. He pitched one inning in the Rangers' home opener in 2015 before a strained left shoulder kept him on the disabled list until the end of August. He spent July and most of August last season on the DL with an injured right shoulder.
The Rangers chose not to exercise their $11 million option on him, allowing him to become a free agent.
Holland's four shutouts led the American League in 2011 when he went 16-5 and he struck out a career-best 189 in 213 innings in 2013. Overall, he's 62-50 with a 4.35 ERA in 985 innings.
Barring more trades, Holland likely will join Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Miguel Gonzalez and James Shields in the Sox rotation, though Quintana's name has been linked to trade rumors with the Astros.
Holland said he isn't concerned the Sox are starting a rebuild.
"The whole thing is a process," he said. "Whoever is there is going to play to win. Who know what lies ahead? I could have an unbelievable year and stay with Chicago."
Or, if he has success and the White Sox don't, he could be used as trade bait at the July 31 deadline to acquire more young talent for the future.