Pittsburgh Pirates Reliever Clay Holmes Exit Game Against the Twins


Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen candidate Clay Holmes exited Saturday night’s outing after being hit in the foot with a pitch

One of the biggest story lines of Spring Training 2020 for the Pittsburgh Pirates is the battle for spots in the team’s Opening Day bullpen. Keone Kela and Kyle Crick are locks for the Opening Day bullpen. Steven Brault, if he does not win the fifth stater’s job, and Robbie Erlin are likely to be in the bullpen as well. After these four pitchers, however, the door is wide open.

Right-handed pitcher Clay Holmes is one of the pitchers competing for one of the other four spots in the Pirate bullpen. In Saturday night’s victory over the Minnesota Twins, Holmes exited the game after facing just one batter due to taking a ball off the foot.

All signs point toward Holmes exiting the game being nothing more than a precautionary move by manager Derek Shelton and the Pirates. Hopefully, Holmes will be just fine when he is re-evaluated on Sunday.

Holmes enters the spring out of minor league options. This means he must make the Opening Day roster, or else he will have to be designated for assignment. If Holmes were DFA’d, with his stuff and untapped potential, the odds of him clearing waivers would be pretty close to zero.

Last season Holmes posted a 5.58 ERA and a 4.97 FIP in 50 innings of work. Holmes battled control issues walking 15.0% of batters faced to go with a strong 23.3% strikeout rate. However, at times he flashed his sky high potential.

Earlier this off-season Noah covered why Holmes is a 2020 breakout candidate for the Pirates. Thus far in Grapefruit League play Holmes has flashed why he is a breakout candidate. In 2.2 innings of work this spring Holmes has not allowed a hit or issued a walk, he’s hit a batter and he’s recorded a strikeout.

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Hopefully, Holmes will have no lingering issues from being hit in the foot on Saturday night and he will be ready to go for his next scheduled outing. Holmes has looked like a player that was pitching his way onto the Opening Day roster.