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Slocomb’s Holmes has successful debut with Yankees
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Slocomb’s Holmes has successful debut with Yankees

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Clay Holmes Yankee debut July 29, 2021

New York Yankees relief pitcher Clay Holmes fires a pitch during the eighth inning Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Slocomb native made his debut with the Yankees, retiring the side in order with one strikeout.

Three days after getting traded to the New York Yankees, Slocomb’s Clay Holmes made his debut with his new team Thursday afternoon – and it was a successful one.

Sporting a new look with shorter hair and no facial hair and wearing jersey No. 35, the relief pitcher was inserted to the mound in the eighth inning of Tampa Bay’s 14-0 rout of the Yankees and he retired the side in order. He induced a groundout and a fly out before recording his first strikeout as a Yankee. He threw 12 pitches, nine for strikes.

Holmes was traded on Monday by the Pittsburgh Pirates for two New York minor leaguers who are regarded among the top 30 in the Yankee system --- Diego Castillo and Hoy Jun Park.

The 28-year-old Holmes had been on Pittsburgh’s roster since the 2018 season. He was a ninth round pick of the Pirates in 2011.

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Holmes had an up-and-down season with the Pirates with a 3-2 record, a 4.93 earned run average and 44 strikeouts over 42 innings.

After a slow start where he gave up seven runs over five appearances and four innings, Holmes had a strong surge from mid-April to mid-June, allowing just two earned runs over 21 2/3 innings and 21 appearances with 20 strikeouts.

He struggled in three straight outings – two in Milwaukee and one in Washington - June 11-14, but finished the month strong with five scoreless innings and six strikeouts. He recorded a perfect inning last Friday at San Francisco and retired the only two batters he faced on Saturday in his last two appearances with the Pirates.

One of the big attractions with Holmes is his sinker ball, which helped him produce a 72.8 percent ground-ball rate while in Pittsburgh. He had allowed only 16 fly-ball outs (three were pop-ups) and induced 83 ground ball outs.

For his career, he has allowed only 10 home runs in 120 2/3 innings, counting his debut with the Yankees. He has a 5-7 career record and a 5.52 earned run average, mostly in relief. He did start a few games early in his career.

Holmes and the Yankees remain in Florida, shifting to Miami for a weekend series.

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