Kevin Pillar Sneezes, Strains Oblique
In the olden days, when someone sneezed people would say “Bless you” with the belief that the sneeze was evil spirits working their way out. It would appear that there may be some kind of evil spirit floating around the Blue Jays complex this spring. The latest victim is OF, Kevin Pillar. He has suffered a 1st grade oblique strain from, you guessed it, sneezing.
Pillar is expected to compete for the 4th outfielder spot, at the very least, with John Gibbons even suggesting that the 26 year old could even compete with Dalton Pompey for the starting CF job. So far this spring, Pillar has been performing reasonably well with a .250 average, .280 OBP and a home run in 8 games (26 plate appearances). Missing a week (at least) could have an impact on the internal competition for roster spots.
Toronto Blue Jays
This injury will not hurt Pillar’s chances of making the club, really. There isn’t a whole lot of depth behind him that is banging on the door to take his spot. But, what the injury could do is impact just where on the roster he’ll fit in. Oblique muscles are rather important to a player’s swing. Blue Jays fans will remember the number of games missed in recent years by oblique injuries among this club. As such, we will also remember that they are not exactly minor injuries.
Given that this is a grade 1 strain and there are still a few weeks left in Spring Training, Pillar will have plenty of time to heal and be ready for Opening Day. Assuming, he heals properly and continues to work hard, he should be still in line to head north with the team at the beginning of April.
While it may be common to strain your oblique by sneezing, what is not so common is the injuries that are working their way through the Blue Jays roster. Already, the Blue Jays have been dealt a devastating blow by losing Marcus Stroman for the entire 2015 season with an ACL tear. Another “freak” injury occurred previously when Michael Saunders suffered an injury to his meniscus while stepping in a divot from a sprinkler in the field.
While these injuries all seem to be weird, the outfield situation should sort itself out in time for the beginning of the season or shortly there after. Saunders appears to progressing very well after making the decision to remove part of the meniscus in favor of a shorter recovery time. With him getting closer and closer to being ready for Opening Day and Pillar only needing to miss a little bit of time, Blue Jays fans should not be in panic mode.
In the mean time, we get to watch guys like Dayan Viciedo, Ezequiel Carrera, Chris Dickerson and 26 year old Caleb Gindl (who’s having a pretty good spring thus far) try and make this outfield competition more interesting. Providing there are no more evil injury bugs lurking around the corner.