The Yankees have come closer Clay Holmes on the 15-day injured list due to back spasms, as one of a series of transactions. Miguel Andujar and Tim Locastro were chosen for Triple-A, while Ron Marinaccio, Estevan Florialand Oswaldo Cabrera were all called up from Triple-A. (Florial and Cabrera’s promotions were reported earlier today.)
Holmes’ placement is retroactive to August 14, and he hasn’t pitched since August 12. It was increasingly expected that Holmes would need an IL trip to fully recover from his back problem, although the New York manager Aaron Boone told Mark Feinsand from MLB.com and other reporters that the team is hopeful that Holmes only misses the 15-day minimum.
Since taking over from the Pirates before the 2021 trading deadline, Holmes has been excellent in the pinstripes, posting a 2.10 ERA over his 77 innings in New York. This outstanding achievement elevated Holmes to the orbit of the nearest then Aroldis Chapman went to the IL himself earlier this season, and with Chapman still struggling before getting injured, the Yankees held Holmes as the best ninth inning even after Chapman’s return.
But just as the Yankees have looked shaky for the past five weeks, Holmes has also returned to Earth after his incredible start. The right has a 9.00 ERA over his last 12 games and 11 innings pitched, and he has lost four of his last five saves. As a result, it now seems quite possible that Chapman (who has thrown better since his return from the IL) will reclaim the closer’s job in the absence of Holmes, and perhaps for the rest of the season. The Yankees could essentially use both pitchers as closers or set-up men, depending on the situation, rather than having a strict game plan sequence late in the games.