Holmes placed on IL with lower back spasm

August 17th, 2022

NEW YORK -- During his postgame press conference after the Yankees' 3-1 loss to the Rays, Aaron Boone made an ominous remark about a roster move coming down the pike.

“We have an injury that we’ll announce here in a little bit,” the manager said.

No such injury was officially announced late Tuesday night, but All-Star closer Clay Holmes was placed on the 15-day injured list on Wednesday afternoon with a left lower back spasm. In a series of related roster moves on Wednesday, utility man Miguel Andújar and outfielder Tim Locastro were optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and infielder Oswaldo Cabrera (New York's No. 14 prospect), outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 15 prospect) and right-hander Ron Marinaccio were recalled from the same affiliate.

“I have some stuff going on with my back,” Holmes said. “We’re trying to figure out how the best way to go about it is.”

According to Holmes, his back “locked up” on him following Friday night’s blown save at Fenway Park. Holmes didn’t pitch in the final two games in Boston, nor was he called on in either of the first two at home against the Rays.

Before Tuesday’s game, Holmes threw a few pitches off the mound, but his back remained a problem.

“I tried to throw again today and it kind of tightened back up,” Holmes said. “The smartest thing and the best way to go about it was just try to maybe give it a break ... play it smart and not try to push through something that maybe could be a lot worse than it is now.”

No tests have been scheduled, as Holmes thinks a course of rest and treatment should take care of the issue.

Through the first three months of the season, Holmes was arguably the best reliever in the game, converting 16 of 18 saves with a 0.46 ERA in 38 appearances through July 9.

In 11 games since, the right-hander has blown three of four save chances, allowing 11 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings for an unsightly 10.24 ERA.

The Yankees have lost 11 of 13 games, watching their lead in the American League East shrink from 15 games to nine, but Holmes believes his back issue won’t keep him out for an extended period of time.

“It's definitely frustrating to deal with this at this moment, just for the fact of where we're at,” Holmes said. “But I think this is probably the smartest move.”