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].”