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Yankees manager Aaron Boone praises Jonathan Holder's professionalism following reliever's demotion

Jonathan Holder #56 of the Yankees hands the

Jonathan Holder #56 of the Yankees hands the ball to manager Aaron Boone #17 as he is removed from a game against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, Apr. 18, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aaron Boone lauded Jonathan Holder’s candor and professionalism after the pitcher took full responsibility for his struggles this year. Boone said he hopes and expects Holder to right himself in Triple-A and contribute to the Yankees down the stretch.

“Last night, having that conversation with Jon, was one of the more difficult ones I’ve had to have, just because of the respect I have for him,” Boone said of demoting Holder, who gave up five earned runs in the eighth inning of Monday’s win over the Blue Jays, nearly costing the Yankees the game.

“Not surprising, just how accountable he was. You get a sense of how much he’s about team in that you see the selflessness and you also see the competitor in him. He is a special guy. We love him in that room. He’s a big part of what we’re doing; he’ll continue to be, and hopefully this is something that allows him to get corrected a little quicker.”

Holder, who is 5-2 but with a 6.81 ERA, allowed 13 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last six appearances. After Monday’s collapse, Holder – who had learned he had been demoted – faced the media, calling his outing “embarrassing” and saying he would work to rectify the situation. Holder had a 3.14 ERA last year over 60 appearances.

This year, he’s struggled with his fastball command and has given up 10 home runs in 35 2/3 innings. The Yankees are hopeful that a trip to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will cure him, much like it did Chad Green.

“Jonathan is such an important part of what we do and has pitched so well for us,” Boone said. “The fastball command hasn’t been there for him, which is something which is a strength of his. He’s a strike thrower. That starts with fastball command. I don’t think his breaking ball of late has been as sharp as it normally is. Those are two things that hopefully he can go down there, in that environment, and hopefully get worked out and get back to us.”

Domingo German will throw a rehab start with Scranton on Thursday, Boone said. If all goes well, he'll rejoin the team after their games in London. 

Tarpley up, Morales gone

The Yankees reinstated Kendrys Morales from the injured list and designated the outfielder for assignment, ending Morales’ disappointing tenure with the team. They also called up lefthander Stephen Tarpley from Scranton. Tarpley has been stretched out, and could be used as something more than a lefty specialist.

“We feel like he’s capable of” pitching more, Boone said of Tarpley, who has an 8.53 ERA in eight major-league appearances this year. “There could be multiple roles for him, as far as a particular game, depending on our needs for that game or who’s available. It may be in short stints, where we want him to get a lefty out but we also feel like he’s capable of – and how we built him up in the minor leagues – he’s capable of giving us multiple innings if he’s pitching well.”

Pinstriped All-Stars

Six Yankees position players have made it to the final round of All-Star balloting, the All-Star Starters Election. Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge will vie for a spot in the All-Star Game on July 9 in Cleveland. Voting runs from Wednesday at noon and until Thursday at 4 p.m.

New York Sports