MLB News: Clay Holmes Remains Yankees' Closer Despite Chapman Return

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Tristin McKinstry

The New York Yankees have been without closer Aroldis Chapman since May 24 due to an Achilles issue. Stepping into his role has been 29-year-old Clay Holmes. And the team hasn't missed a beat.

Holmes has pitched spectacularly all season, but especially in the Chapman's place at the back end of the bullpen. His performance has paid off, as manager Aaron Boone has confirmed Holmes will remain the closer in the Bronx.

Earned The Role

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Boone spoke to the media prior to the Bombers' series-opener against the Oakland Athletics Monday night.

“Clay’s certainly earned that closer role,” Boone said. “I don’t know if we’ve done it since (Chapman) has been down but there’s been many nights where he could have been in there in the eighth inning just based on the matchups now and I would have closed with Wandy (Peralta) or whoever was available. So those things have been in play already and certainly with Chappie coming back, the biggest thing I want is to get Chapman in a good place delivery wise and throwing the ball like he’s capable of. And if we get that. then we got another back-end monster.”

'It's Exciting'

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Holmes also spoke with the media prior to Monday's victory over the Athletics. Among the topics discussed were his thoughts on the closer's role now that he's had a chance to get acclimated to the position.

"It’s exciting. You’re running in and you do your job and we all get to celebrate," Holmes said, via "You kind of run in and you know that there’s going to be a lot of people, whether it’s the bullpen or the lineup that have done a lot of good things to put the team in position to win. It’s like you want to carry the torch to the finish line. It’s been good and exciting."

Having Chapman Back

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The 29-year-old also spoke about Chapman's impending return to the team, and what getting the Cuban flamethrower back in the bullpen will mean for the Yankees.

"I think just having a healthy Chapman back is going to be huge for our team as well as Lo (Jonathan Loaisiga). The more arms we can have down there, the better," he said.

Staying In The Role

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Holmes, while finding excitement in closing down games, doesn't seem to care where exactly he's pitching from the bullpen. So long as he is put in a position to win games for his ball club, he's satisfied.

"I really don’t have a preference. There’s some ways to look at it," Holmes said, via "They know how to use us the best and I think we all kind of trust that, whatever that looks like. Whether that’s the seventh, eighth, ninth. I’ve got full confidence that as long as I’m doing my job in those innings, we’re going to help the team win."