TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will be without one of their key defensive contributors for the next two weeks, as centre fielder Kevin Pillar was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a left thumb sprain.
The Blue Jays recalled outfielder Darrell Ceciliani from Triple-A Buffalo to take Pillar's spot on the 25-man roster. Ceciliani has hit .268 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs for the Bisons this season. The 26-year-old went 0-for-3 while playing left field in Monday's 7-5 win over the Rays.
Pillar injured his thumb sliding headfirst into second base against the Royals on Saturday and was held out of the lineup for Sunday's series finale. Pillar does not expect to miss more than the requisite 15 days, and veteran outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. will take over centre field duties in his absence.
"It's definitely very disappointing," Pillar said. "I've been very fortunate my whole life, and especially in the big leagues to avoid injury with my style of play, and for it to happen on a fairly routine play that I've done thousands of times in my career is unfortunate."
The 27-year-old had initially hoped to rest a few days before being re-evaluated during Thursday's off-day. However, an MRI revealed wear and tear in the thumb. Pillar's appearance on the DL is the first of his Major League career.
"That's my prognosis," Pillar said in reference to missing the minimum 15 days. "That's the only one that really matters to me -- how I feel about it. My level of pain tolerance is different than most. For me, I can go with the pain, it's just about not hurting the team by being a guy who is in the lineup."
Pillar has used a protective glove on his hand in the past, and is expected to do so after returning from the DL. The former 32nd-round pick has hit .261 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs this season, while also ranking third among Major Leagues outfielders with 17 defensive runs saved.
Upton Jr. was brought over from the Padres prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and has experience at all three outfield spots. The 31-year-old spent most of the season as the everyday left fielder for San Diego, hitting 16 home runs while swiping 20 bases, but has recorded just four hits in 32 at-bats since the trade.
"I'm just going to continue to be myself," said Upton Jr. "Offensively, it hasn't gone the way I've wanted it to so far, but that's part of the game. You have ups and downs in this game and not much is going to change. I'm just going to produce a little bit more."
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.