Clay Holmes will pitch for the Bradenton Marauders this year. The big question is when?
Holmes was slated to go to Bradenton last year, but needed Tommy John surgery during Spring Training. He had the surgery a few weeks before fellow right-hander Jameson Taillon had his surgery, and as a result is ahead in his rehab work. But it’s currently unlikely that Holmes will be ready by Opening Day, which will delay his trip across town from Pirate City to McKechnie Field.
Holmes threw his second live batting practice on Friday, and is hoping to begin throwing simulated games by the end of next week. Like Taillon, he is on a schedule where he only pitches on Tuesday and Friday, although that will switch to a five-day routine when the sim games start. The Tuesday and Friday routine will put Holmes behind the rest of the pitchers in minor league camp.
“I was kind of with them, but not as much stretched out,” Holmes said. “It’s going to take me a little longer to build up, because of the rehab. I’ll eventually be surpassed by them.”
He said that he’s looking to get into real games by the end of Spring Training, although that won’t be enough to get him back on the field for Opening Day. He is currently throwing the equivalent of an inning of work. When sim games begin, he will go through the process of sitting down between innings, and throwing the equivalent of two innings of work. From there, pitchers typically throw three innings, four innings, and two starts with five innings before they’re ready for the season. It might be different for a guy coming back from Tommy John surgery.
“I’m being build back up for a starter. They want my starting base built back up before I go to an affiliate,” Holmes said, noting that he’ll be in extended Spring Training at Pirate City. “There’s a more controlled environment over here, so I’ll do that until they’re ready to send me [to High-A].”
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
With just a little bit of control/command, Holmes could be a significant pitcher for the Pirates. It is said that velocity increases after TJ, and that the last thing to return is control. Holmes was mid-90’s and knew control problems firsthand before the surgery. He pitched successfully even though he did so with an average of 1.7 runners on base every inning. In 2013 he walked 69 in only 119 innings, hit another 12, and gave up almost a hit per inning, but still managed a 5-6 record and only a 4.08 ERA.
I think he has the physical and mental toughness to come through this test and be better in 2015 than he was in 2013.
Dr Andrews must have a statue in his office for Tommy John, the pitcher who has probably helped him become a multi millionaire! 🙂
Think you got that backwards, Dr Andrews helped Tommy John and many others become multi-millionaires.
I lot of Dr Andrews clients are already millionaires….more than a few times over. But, I guess the more accurate statement is to say that its been a mutually beneficial relationship.
Tommy John wasn’t a millionaire yet.
No, he wasn’t because of when he pitched. Although, given when he pitched, he was the equivalent to one today. he got a huge free agent contract to go from LA to NY…
Tj surgery is so prevalent now it should be issued with the uni’s. Here’s your uniform you will be # 2, and here’s your appt. for tjs. Now get out there and give em heck…next year. : )
Hopefully, both of our TJ candidates come back stronger than ever.