Home News ‘Surprised’ Yankees closer Clay Holmes named to second All-Star team

‘Surprised’ Yankees closer Clay Holmes named to second All-Star team

Aaron Judge and Juan Soto aren’t the only Yankees heading to the All-Star Game.

Clay Holmes will join the sluggers in Arlington, Texas on July 16. The closer was named to his second All-Star team on Sunday evening.

“Very excited,” Holmes said of the nod. “This place, it means a lot to me. This organization, the teammates, the coaches, all the people here, it’s a special place to me, and it means a lot to be able to represent all the guys here.

“It’s something I don’t take lightly. It’s a huge honor, and I’m super grateful for this opportunity.”

Holmes said that he originally planned on spending his All-Star break at home in Nashville or on the beach in Montauk, New York. However, Major League Baseball selected him to the American League’s Midsummer squad following fan and player selections.

“I was probably a little surprised,” Holmes said. “The All-Star Game’s a hard thing to make. I don’t think you can ever fully expect it. I’m not coming in with a 0.00 ERA. So it’s definitely an honor and something I’m super grateful for and glad to be a part of the team.”

Holmes actually had a 3.00 ERA prior to Sunday’s game against the Red Sox, his highest mark in a season as a Yankee. The righty has saved 19 games — the third-most in the American League — but he’s also blown five chances.

The most recent came in Friday’s loss to Boston.

Regardless, Holmes has been a Yankees success story. Acquired from the Pirates midway through the 2021 season, the 31-year-old had a 5.57 career ERA at the time.

Over his first 190 games with the Yankees, he recorded a 2.60 ERA and 63 saves.

“It’s a journey that never really ends, but you don’t really expect some things or know where you’re gonna be,” Holmes said of his career. “I always knew that I could be a good pitcher and had some of the tools to do it. But it’s taken a lot of work, a lot of setbacks, a lot of things going your way, a lot of learning that have put me in this situation and produced the kind of character and confidence that it takes to be successful here. It is pretty special when you do kind of reflect back.

“It kind of puts things in perspective, and it also puts where you’re at now in perspective. You don’t get too fully high or fully low.”

Holmes didn’t start closing until 2022, when he earned his first All-Star selection.

That year, he traveled to Dodger Stadium, where he recalled sharing a locker room with Shohei Ohtani and Miguel Cabrera, among others. He said his favorite part of the experience was getting to know and learn from other All-Stars.

“Obviously, it’s the game’s best,” Holmes said. “To be able to be up close and talk baseball and be in that comfortable environment of a locker room with some of the game’s best is a lot of fun.”

Speaking of the game’s best, Holmes took a minute to praise the “incredible” seasons Judge and Soto are having.

Prior to Sunday, the two had combined for 53 home runs and 146 RBI. Judge led the majors in both categories, while Soto’s .431 OBP also paced the majors.

“We knew the players they are and what they could do, but I think them doing it and probably doing, as hard as it is, more than what you can expect, is not easy,” Holmes said. “You don’t want to take it for granted because of who they are, who their names are and what they’ve done.”


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