The Yankees have placed 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 optioned to Triple-A, while Ron Marinaccio, Estevan Florial, and 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. There was increasing expectation that Holmes would need an IL trip to fully recuperate from his back problem, though New York manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and other reporters that the team is hopeful Holmes only misses the 15-day minimum.
Since being acquired from the Pirates prior to the 2021 trade deadline, Holmes has been outstanding in the pinstripes, posting a 2.10 ERA over his 77 innings in New York. This outstanding performance elevated Holmes to the closer’s job when Aroldis Chapman went on the IL himself earlier this season, and with Chapman struggling even before he got injured, the Yankees kept Holmes as the top ninth-inning choice even after Chapman’s return.
However, just as the Yankees have looked shaky over the last five weeks of play, Holmes has also come back to earth after his incredible start. The righty has a 9.00 ERA over his last 12 games and 11 innings pitched, and he has blown four of his last five save chances. As a result, it now appears quite possible that Chapman (who has pitched better since his return from the IL) will reclaim the closer’s job in Holmes’ absence, and perhaps for the remainder of the season. The Yankees could also essentially use both pitchers as closers or set-up men depending on the situation, rather than have a strict order to their late-game plans.