Gulfport native Jonathan Holder embracing fresh start with new MiLB deal with Angels

Once a young kid out of Gulfport chasing his big league dreams over the years, Jonathan Holder has grown into a veteran pitcher that’s made a lengthy professional career for himself.

However, after a pair of injuries, the former Admiral now on his third team in four years, finally looking forward to a fresh start with a clean bill of health.

When Jonathan Holder became the first Gulfport High School baseball player to ever have his jersey retired, he was pitching for the New York Yankees.  Since then, the former Admiral spent two years with the Chicago Cubs organization and now another change of scenery in the big city, having recently signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels. “Change is definitely a part of our lives. Going from city to city and being with Chicago and being injured pretty much the whole time I was there was a letdown for me, but I’m excited with a new opportunity with the Los Angeles Angels and ready to get to spring training soon.”

In less than a month, Holder says he’ll be reporting to camp at one hundred percent ready to roll with his sights set on claiming one of the bullpen spots with the big league club, almost 28 months since his last major league pitch. “For 27 years I had never had an injury, and then back-to-back years being hurt, it takes its toll. It’s physically and emotionally challenging. But I’ve tried to do my best to stay positive and work every day to try to get back to 100 percent.”

Having most recently battled back from a rotator cuff injury, Holder no doubt has what it takes to punch some tickets in LA with 165 career strikeouts in 176-and-two-thirds innings.

Now closing in on nine years since being drafted in the sixth round by the Yanks, the former Mississippi State Bulldog starting to gain more appreciation for health and longevity on top of simply chasing the dream. “I think the average Major League career is four years, so every day that I get to be there is a blessing and I’m excited and hopefully I can make it a little bit longer.”

When Holder takes the diamond in Tempe, Arizona for spring training, the biggest difference will have nothing to do with fastball, change up, curveball, rather his one-year-old son. Whether or not Hudson actually remembers being in the clubhouse with dad remains to be seen, but that number 23 on the wall in left-center should serve as a pretty good reminder. “Having him now, whether I do good or bad, he doesn’t really care. So, I can come out of the game and if I have a bad outing or something, I can come out and hang with him and he brings me back down to earth. But I’m excited to have him around the clubhouse. and let him be a part of my journey.”

If his throwing partner looked familiar, Southern Miss alum Kirk McCarty, we’ll be featuring him in the coming days as well.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports