Derek Holland, who led the Rangers in innings and starts in 2013, could be out until midseason after hurting his left knee in a fall at his home Tuesday.
The Rangers said the lefthander, 27, will miss up to three months following surgery on Friday to repair cartilage damage.
"I am devastated by this injury," Holland said in a statement provided by the club. "It was a freak accident at home that resulted in a hard fall on my knee. As upsetting as this is, my goal is to begin rehab and get back on the mound as quickly as possible."
Holland was 10-9, 3.42 last season in a career-high 213 innings. His 2.95 SO/BB ration was a career best as was his HRs/IP rate.
General manager Jon Daniels said Holland could be out until the All-Star break.
But Daniels told The Dallas Morning News the club will not invest in a "big-ticket" pitcher, meaning the Rangers will not attempt to acquire Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka.
Daniels told the newspaper that candidates to make starts in Holland’s absence include lefthanders Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman and righthanders Tanner Scheppers, Nick Tepesch and Jose Contreras, who the club signed and invited to spring training as a non-roster player.
Top 10 pitching prospects Alex Gonzalez and Luke Jackson, both righthanders, are likely not in a position to make the team out of spring training.