Needing a boost after watching a 6-0 lead evaporate, the Toronto Blue Jays opted to pinch hit for Kevin Pillar in the 8th inning with tough right-hander Dellin Betances on the mound. That move apparently didn’t sit well with Pillar last night, as the outfielder tossed his bat into the tunnel in disgust and drew the ire of manager John Gibbons, as relayed by a series of tweet from MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm.
Well, the move didn’t sit overly well with manager John Gibbons, leading to the team making a surprise move on Wednesday, demoting Pillar back to Triple-A Buffalo and replacing him on the roster with Brad Glenn, again as relayed by Chisholm via Twitter.
Given the state of how things have unfolded lately and the need for the team to pull through these tough times as a team, it goes without saying that the move was made to send a message to the otherwise quiet Pillar. Chisholm even went as far as to ask Gibbons if the move was a direct result of last night’s actions, something the Blue Jays manager chose not to deny.
Pillar has slashed a notably weak .225/.220/.300 in 26 games with the Blue Jays in 2014, mostly in a platoon role with Anthony Gose. However, those numbers are exasperated by the fact that Pillar exhibits a notable split between hitting left-handed pitchers versus right-handers, which is the primary reason he was lifted with the righty on the mound and the Jays threatening in the 8th for the go-ahead run.
A fan-favorite turned folk hero a season ago, the 25-year-old Pillar made a tremendous leap in the Jays farm system in 2013 and forced his way into the big league picture. However, he has struggled with pitch recognition at the game’s highest level and has not been able to turn minor league performance into Major League results thus far.
Report from Baseball-Reference.com.
That all said, the Blue Jays opted to make a move to both better the team and send a message. The 27-year-old Glenn has been tearing up pitching this season, slashing a combined .302/.373/.490 with 9 home runs and 36 RBI between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. That performance has lead to his first taste of the big leagues, where he’ll serve as outfield depth and a late-game pinch-hitter.
To make room for Glenn on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays were forced to designate shortstop Jonathan Diaz for assignment. The light-hitting Diaz enjoyed a cup of coffee with the team earlier this season, but given his lack of an impact bat, he’ll likely pass through waivers and rejoin the Bisons later this week.