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Yankees’ Clay Holmes dealing with back tightness that could lead to IL stint

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Yankees Clay Holmes
New York Yankees’ Clay Holmes pitches against the Kansas City Royals.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

When it rains it pours and for the Yankees, it means another player possibly headed to the injured list. Following their 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, reliever Clay Holmes revealed that he had been dealing with an issue with his back.

The Yankees breakout star, who had wrestled the closing job away from veteran Aroldis Chapman, said that he had started to experience tightness in his back recently. He later described it as spasms and soreness. 

Holmes tried to throw on Tuesday when it tightened back up on him, he told reporters after the game. The 29-year-old said that he had thrown a couple of pitches off the mound and that this was not something that he’s dealt with in the past. 

He would not confirm if this would result in a stint on the IL. 

“Have some stuff going on with my back that we’re trying to figure out how the best way to go about it is,” Holmes said at his locker in the Yankees clubhouse. “Just felt the smartest thing and the best way to go about it is just try to give a break we’ll see and play it smart. Not try to push it through something that maybe it could be a lot worse than what it is now.” 

Holmes has not gotten any tests done on it and he responded firmly that it would be something that he could come back from quickly if he did end up on the IL. The Yankees did not release any official word on what Holmes’ status is, but manager Aaron Boone did intimate that an injury announcement could come down the pipeline during his postgame press conference. 

The injury to Holmes comes at a time that the Yankees have had to deal with a number of injuries and the team is going through a slump. 

Holmes had been one of the best relievers in baseball during the first half of the year, but, similarly to the team, he has struggled of late. In 7.2 innings of work since the All-Star break, Holmes has an 8.22 ERA and three blown saves. 

“It’s definitely frustrating to deal with this at this moment,” he said. “Just for the fact that kind of where we’re at, but I think this is probably the smartest move. I think there’s definitely going to be another guy that can step up and I believe whoever it is we have full trust. I think we play our best baseball when we need to.”