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Holder back to bolster 'pen, makes no-look stop

Tarpley optioned to Triple-A; Gardner rests ailing knee
@BryanHoch
July 23, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jonathan Holder said there were no quick fixes to credit for his return to the Yankees' bullpen, just improved fastball command. The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday in advance of the club's three-game series against the Twins at Target Field. He returned with a clean

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jonathan Holder said there were no quick fixes to credit for his return to the Yankees' bullpen, just improved fastball command. The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday in advance of the club's three-game series against the Twins at Target Field.

He returned with a clean eighth inning in the Yankees' 8-6 loss to the Twins, striking out one and ending the frame with a behind-the-back snag on a comebacker from Luis Arraez.

Holder posted encouraging results in seven appearances at Triple-A, where he was 1-1 with one save and a 3.48 ERA. In 10 1/3 innings, Holder struck out 14 against two walks, permitting 12 hits.

"I felt like I got to have some side sessions down there before I got on the mound, work on some things and then take it into the game," Holder said before the game. "I think that was a big thing."

The 26-year-old said his entire season had been "a grind" shortly before being optioned to the Minors on June 24, when he faced five batters and retired none.

"That was a tough night; it’s in the past and I am ready to move forward," Holder said. "I felt like the first couple of times I pitched down there [at Triple-A], I ran into a little bit of trouble, but then started commanding my fastball better. Then the swings and misses came, and I got out of some jams."

In 32 big league appearances this season, Holder has a 6.63 ERA, permitting 30 runs (27 earned) and 40 hits across 36 2/3 innings.

"I feel like he's not all the way back to where we and he want him to be, but he's throwing the ball well," manager Aaron Boone said. "He definitely put himself in position to get this callback."

In a corresponding move, the Yankees optioned left-hander Stephen Tarpley to Triple-A.

Tarpley has logged a 6.59 ERA in 13 big league appearances this year, throwing 79 pitches in two appearances this past weekend against the Rockies, when he permitted an unearned run and three hits across 4 1/3 innings.

On the bench
Brett Gardner was out of the Yankees' lineup for a second consecutive game on Monday due to his sore left knee, though the outfielder remains day-to-day, and Boone said Gardner could be available off the bench.

"He's a player. In a perfect world, we'd try and stay away from him," Boone said. "He hit in the cage, moved around a bit and everything. We felt like it was significantly improved from yesterday. Whether he's back in there [Tuesday] or not, I'm not sure yet."

Though an MRI of the knee revealed only inflammation, Boone said he remains mindful of relying on the longest-tenured Yankee, who has played in 92 of the team's first 98 games and is the only outfielder on the roster not to spend time at Triple-A or on the injured list.

"Next week, we could potentially have Cameron Maybin back in the mix as a right-handed hitter and there may be an opportunity to spell Gardy at different times," Boone said. "I think there will be opportunities to pick our spots to where we do keep Gardy fresh. ... Our situation this year has been such that we’ve had to lean on him pretty heavily, so we’ll do what we have to do. But in Gardy, I feel like as much as anyone, age or not, he’s prepared for the rigors of it all."

Didi Gregorius was also held out of Monday's lineup against left-hander Martin Perez, a decision that Boone said the shortstop was not thrilled with.

"I told him last night. He wasn't real happy with me," Boone said. "He probably still isn't. I've got no issue with that. That's Didi. Didi wants to play. ... He'll be in there the rest of the week."

Goin' deep
When the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon and the Yankees' DJ LeMahieu swapped leadoff homers in New York's 8-4 loss Sunday at Yankee Stadium, it marked just the seventh time in Yankees franchise history that the club has both hit and allowed a leadoff homer.

The feat also occurred on: Aug. 17, 2006, vs. Baltimore (Johnny Damon and the Orioles' Brian Roberts); Aug. 1, 2001, vs. Texas (Chuck Knoblauch and the Rangers' Michael Young); July 27, 1985, at Texas (Rickey Henderson and the Rangers' Oddibe McDowell); Aug. 15, 1980, at Baltimore (Willie Randolph and the Orioles' Al Bumbry); Sept. 3, 1955, vs. Washington (Hank Bauer and the Senators' Eddie Yost); and June 25, 1920, vs. Boston (Roger Peckinpaugh and Harry Hooper of the Red Sox).

This date in Yankees history
July 22, 2010: Derek Jeter raced around the bases for his second career inside-the-park homer, and his first since 1996, in the Yankees' 10-4 victory over the Royals.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.