Feliz gave up a run on two hits and two walks over two innings in Saturday's 7-2 loss to the D-backs at PNC Park. Of greater concern, his average fastball velocity dipped for the third straight game, according to Statcast™, registering at just 92.8 mph after averaging 94.8 mph this season. Richard Rodriguez missed 11 days earlier this month with a similar injury.
"Hopefully, much like Richard, Michael will be able to battle through this and get that inflammation out of there and be ready to go soon after the end of the DL stint," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We'll reevaluate the bullpen at that point in time."
After a strong stretch through April and early May, Feliz began struggling in late May and fell out of his setup role. But Feliz has bounced back a bit, allowing only two earned runs in seven innings over his last five appearances after being scored upon in six straight appearances.
Overall, Feliz has posted a 5.51 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP, 39 strikeouts and 16 walks in 32 2/3 innings over 33 appearances this season.
Holmes, 25, made his Major League debut in relief for the Pirates on April 6. He was scheduled to start on Sunday for Triple-A Indianapolis but wound up pitching two quick, scoreless innings in the Pirates' 3-0 loss to the D-backs.
"I had some crazy travel early on in the year. It kind of comes with it, so you kind of get used to it now," Holmes said. "Once your name's called and you're out on the field, it kind of goes away."
Holmes is 6-3 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 13 Triple-A appearances, including 12 starts. The Pirates' No. 18 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Holmes has been outstanding of late. Over his last four starts, Holmes is 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA.
"I think the main thing is, I've been pitching to my strengths, kind of throwing my best pitches. I think they were feeding off each other," Holmes said. "Been getting ahead in counts with all my pitches, staying with my strengths, staying within myself. The execution has been there, and the results have been there, too."
Holmes will be used as a long reliever, which may free up manager Clint Hurdle to use right-hander Tyler Glasnow and left-hander Steven Brault in more high-leverage situations. Glasnow and Brault, both starters pitching out of the bullpen, have been two of the Pirates' best relievers lately.
"We see Clayton as a guy very capable of being a power-sinker, Major League starting pitcher," Huntington said. "Sometimes those guys end up being power-sinker, Major League relievers."
Polanco sits • Right fielder Gregory Polanco was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day on Sunday. While Polanco has slumped since mid-April and entered Sunday batting just .215, he seemed to be turning things around with six hits, including a home run and a double, and six walks over his last 19 plate appearances before Sunday.
Corey Dickerson got the start in left field with Starling Marte in center and Austin Meadows in right. Polanco flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.
"I've only got three spots and four outfielders," Hurdle said. "Trying to play the guys we feel are going to match up best and give us time. … Performance comes into play as well."