Yost sticking with Holland as his closer

Yost sticking with Holland as his closer

KANSAS CITY -- Welcome home, Ned Yost, nice weather, it looks like a great day for your Royals and oh, yeah, are you going to change your closer?

It didn't take long for that question to be directed at the Royals' manager before the home opener on Monday, against the Twins. Greg Holland, after all, had been bumped around in the last two games at Philadelphia.

"Holland's our closer," Yost said.

Holland blew Saturday night's game after walking the first three batters and got himself into another fix on Sunday. Fortunately, Kelvin Herrera was able to snare the save in a 9-8 heart-stopper.

So in his first three appearances, Holland was charged with four runs on four hits and four walks in two innings. In his lone save, at Chicago, he had to wiggle out of a self-inflicted two-on jam.

"He's just been kind of a slow starter -- he was last year, too," Yost said. "Once he gets his feet underneath him, he's lights out. We'll adjust it out."

Early last year Holland had to overcome an ailment in his rib cage that put him on the disabled list. After coming off the DL on May 11, he posted a 2.08 ERA and took over the closer's role in late July, with great success.

"His stuff's really good, he's just missing off the plate. His command is pretty good, but he's just off an inch or two," Yost said. "And you're not going to be a successful closer by throwing a fastball down the middle. You've got to work the thirds of the plate, and he does that really well."

On Sunday, Yost turned to Herrera, who gave up a run-scoring single to Laynce Nix and then struck out Erik Kratz to end the game.

"Things started to unravel, and I just couldn't let it happen again," Yost said. "And I liked the matchup with [Herrera's] changeup against Nix, who can take you out of the park."

For Monday's game, Yost faced a quandary -- would he use Herrera and/or Holland for a third straight day?

The answer was no.

Yost brought in Aaron Crow to close out Monday's 3-1 victory over the Twins after starter Ervin Santana pitched eight innings.

"The decision was easy. Holland and Herrera were unavailable. I wasn't going to throw them today. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but Santana took care of that," Yost said. "It's just too early to pitch these guys three days in a row."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.