An old friend is set to return to Toronto as a member of the red-hot Braves
By Edward Eng
On Friday, the Toronto Blue Jays will be opening up a three-game series at home against the best team in the NL currently in the Atlanta Braves. In doing so, it will mark the first time former Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar has returned to Toronto since three years ago in 2020 when he was still a member of the Boston Red Sox. Currently, Pillar is part of a red-hot Braves team that has gotten off to a blazing start with a 25-12 record, sitting comfortably in first place in the NL East division, 6.5 games up on the second place Miami Marlins.
For this year, Pillar is serving primarily in a platoon role in left field with Eddie Rosario on the Braves’ roster. Even with just his part-time duties, he has put together a solid start to the 2023 season, as he is hitting .270 and chipping in with nine runs scored, three home runs, 10 RBI, two stolen bases, to go along with three walks and 16 strikeouts. In addition, his OPS of .759 and OPS+ of 102 is his highest in three years, regaining back part of his mojo from his strong 2020 season.
The Jays had definitely missed the exceptional outfield defense provided by Pillar ever since he was traded to the San Francisco Giants early on in the season back in 2019. There hadn’t been anyone close to his superb abilities patrolling the outfield ever since until finally the arrivals of the defensive stalwarts Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier this past offseason.
In his career against his former team, Pillar has hit .161 with three runs scored, one RBI and a stolen base in 11 games. So at least Jays’ fans can give a nice warm welcome back to “Superman” at the Rogers Centre and at the same time, don’t have to worry too much that he will do a lot of damage to his former team (or at least they hope so). In addition, both players and fans will be able to enjoy the duel between Pillar and Varsho/Kiermaier as they battle it out for defensive supremacy during the series.
Nevertheless, seeing Superman again will always help bring back the spectacular plays and great memories he had with the team, especially the ones during the contending years back in 2015 and 2016. He definitely will never be forgotten in the hearts of many Jays’ fans.