Pillar activated after first DL stint; Tepera optioned
By Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays activated outfielder Kevin Pillar from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Angels.
Pillar had been out since Aug. 6 with a sprained left thumb he sustain while sliding headfirst into second base against the Royals, and the stint was his first Major League appearance on the DL. To make room on the 25-man roster, Toronto optioned right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera to Triple-A Buffalo.
Pillar made his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Tuesday, playing center field and hitting seventh in the order. The 27-year-old defensive stalwart said there will be no restrictions to his style of play for the remainder of the year.
"I feel pretty good," Pillar said. "I'm not going to put a number on it. I don't feel like there's anything I can't do out there that I wasn't able to do before the injury, and it's just something I'm going to have to deal with and take care of in the offseason."
Pillar completed a rehab assignment on the weekend with the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League, finishing 6-for-7 with two RBIs. The CSU Dominguez Hills product used protective gear on his left hand during the stint, and he expects to do so for the remainder of the season.
"I'm going to be wearing the proper protection I need for my hand," Pillar said. "I'm going to try being a little more political when it comes to sliding -- maybe go in feet first. I play the game hard, I play the game with instincts and sometimes that just happens, but as long as I'm protected, I'm confident in the protection I'm wearing. I'll be fine."
Pillar has hit .261 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs as the everyday center fielder for the Blue Jays. The former 32nd-round pick is also fourth in the American League with 16 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs.
For Tuesday, the move shifted Melvin Upton Jr. to left field with Michael Saunders playing in right field. The Blue Jays are expected to make another roster move in the coming days, with right fielder Jose Bautista eligible to return from the DL on Thursday.
A day off for Devon
Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis was held out of Tuesday's lineup with an injured ligament in his right hand. Travis took a cortisone shot to help alleviate the pain and is considered day to day. Darwin Barney started at second and hit leadoff in Travis' absence.
"I think Devon will be fine," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said. "Devon is strong and tough, so I would think that he's ready to go tomorrow."
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.