Holmes, Boone back on same page after G3 'miscommunication'

After clearing air, reliever pitches scoreless inning in G4 and will be available for ALDS finale

October 17th, 2022

CLEVELAND -- One day after  stood in the visiting bullpen at Progressive Field, watching a ninth-inning lead melt away and wondering why his name wasn’t called, manager Aaron Boone said that he and the reliever were on the same page.

Boone said that he considered Holmes available for Game 3 only in “an emergency,” which he later clarified meant an extra-inning game where no other pitchers remained. While Holmes wasn’t used in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, the Yankees needed him for Game 4, when he tossed a scoreless eighth inning with two strikeouts in a 4-2 win over the Guardians on Sunday.

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“I totally understand that there’s a plan in place,” Holmes said. “I think the rainouts and the four [games] in a row rewrote some of that, honestly. They were taking a lot of things into consideration [for Game 3], watching me and how I came in, how I went about my day. They thought that was the best decision possible for me throughout the rest of the series, maybe not pitching [in Game 3].”

So concluded 24 hours of drama, beginning with Clarke Schmidt allowing a game-winning hit to Oscar Gonzalez in Cleveland’s 6-5 Game 3 win. Holmes said after Game 3 that he “felt like I was available to pitch,” adding that he was asked about his status and told the club that he was “good to go if needed.”

Boone said that he and Holmes “talked it out,” adding, “We didn’t tell him he was down because he was in an emergency situation, and I was letting the day unfold a little bit. Then I didn’t want to go into the game saying [Holmes was] down; I wanted him to have the mindset of being ready. I guess that’s the only miscommunication, but we’ve hashed it out.”

The Yankees have proceeded carefully with Holmes since he sustained a strain of his right shoulder capsule during a Sept. 26 appearance at Toronto.

He threw 10 pitches in Game 1 on Oct. 11 and 16 pitches in Game 2 on Oct. 14, recording two outs in each appearance. Boone said he did not want to use Holmes on back-to-back days during the ALDS unless absolutely necessary.

Holmes reported soreness when he arrived at Progressive Field on Saturday and did not perform his normal throwing program, according to Boone. Though the Yankees did not consider that a red flag, Boone said it “nudged me in a direction.”

“Ultimately, I’ve got to make a decision on a guy’s health and career,” Boone said. “The thought of putting him out there and if he gets hurt, that’s a tough one to live with. And if you think he’s compromised, if it doesn’t go well and he doesn’t perform, then we’re up against it even worse [in Game 4].”

However, those rules are out the window now, with the Yankees needing to win their second in a row Monday night to extend their season. Boone confirmed that even though Holmes pitched in Game 4, he will be considered available to pitch in Game 5 at Yankee Stadium.

“I thought he threw the ball really well and was very much under control,” Boone said. “I think he came through. We'll see what we have tomorrow.”