Pillar nets June honour from Toronto BBWAA

Center fielder named Blue Jays player of the month

Pillar nets June honour from Toronto BBWAA

TORONTO -- Center fielder Kevin Pillar was named the Blue Jays' player of the month for June by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Thursday afternoon.

Pillar hit .365 in June, which ranked tied for third in the American League. He also added four doubles, four home runs, 18 RBIs and five stolen bases. That was enough to raise his average from .223 at the start of the month to .270.

This marks the first monthly award that Pillar has picked up during his three seasons in the league. The turnaround started on June 2 when Pillar became the first right-handed batter to hit two home runs off Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the same game.

"He added a leg kick over the winter and he started out pretty good with that, and then he started struggling," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "So they did a little modifying with that, cut that down just a little bit.

"I think really it's just experience. He's out there every day now, he knows he's in the lineup. In the past, when he was up and down it was basically a platoon ... and there are so few left-handers there wasn't a lot of playing time."

Left-hander Mark Buehrle and right-hander Marco Estrada also received some first-place votes for the award. Buehrle went 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA, while Estrada became the first pitcher since Dave Stieb in 1988 to carry a no-hitter into the eighth inning of back-to-back starts.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.