Toronto Blue Jays Suspend Kevin Pillar for Two Games

The Toronto Blue Jays have suspended Kevin Pillar for two games after the center fielder used a homophobic slur.

According to Shi Davidi of Sporstnet.ca, the Toronto Blue Jays have suspended Kevin Pillar for two games. The suspension is in response to the center fielder using a homophobic slur during an argument in Wednesday night’s game, as MLB Trade Rumors’ Jeff Todd noted. Pillar has since apologized for the incident.

Furthermore, Davidi said in a tweet that Pillar’s forfeited salary over those two days will be donated in some capacity. It was unknown at the time which charity would be receiving the roughly $6,000, but it seems likely that the recipient organization will be related to LGBTQ rights. Davidi also noted that General Manager Ross Atkins applied the suspension “in consultation” with MLB and the MLB Players Association.

The argument occurred after Pillar’s at-bat in the 7th inning of Wednesday’s game. As the situation became more heated, the outfielder used the slur towards the Atlanta Braves’ Jason Motte. Pillar said in his apology that he felt “completely and utterly embarrassed”, noting that the episode did not reflect who he is. Additionally, he commented that would “use this as an opportunity to better [himself].”

Similarly, the Toronto Blue Jays called Pillar’s usage of the slur extremely disappointing and unacceptable behavior in their official statement. They carried on to stress that Pillar’s outburst was not “a reflection of the type of inclusive organization [they] strive to be.” The team also reaffirmed their belief that Pillar is still a “respectful, high-character individual.”

Just this past September, Kevin Pillar was named as the Toronto Blue Jays’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. The award recognizes one player each year for their charitable contributions and extraordinary character both on and off the field. Pillar earned the honor due to his regular visits to sick children in hospitals.

Aside from the most recent developments, Pillar has been having an excellent start to 2017. Through 183 plate appearances over 41 games, the righty has batted a career-best .305 with a healthy 7.1 percent walk rate. Similarly, he has increased his power production and has already swatted six home runs despite only launching seven in all of the last season.

The only real areas where the centerfielder has regressed are in base running and defense. He has only swiped six bags despite ten attempts, a divergence from his prior successes. Just two years ago, the righty stole 25 bags against just four failed attempts.

As for his fielding, Pillar has not played quite as well as in past years. He has only saved one more run than an average player by Defensive Runs Saved, and Ultimate Zone Ratings pegs him at one-tenth of a run worse than average. This is a stark contrast to the prior two seasons when the advanced metrics felt that he was one of the better defenders at his position.

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