'Pill' pays tribute to alma mater with cleats

'Pill' pays tribute to alma mater with cleats

TORONTO -- Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar is wrapping up Players Weekend on Sunday with a third pair of customized cleats, this time to pay tribute to his alma mater of California State University Dominguez Hills.

In the first two games of Players Weekend, Pillar wore cleats to raise awareness for spina bifida and a pair of Superman cleats, the nickname that "Pill" is best known for.

Pillar's rise to Toronto made him one of just four players from California State University Dominguez Hills to reach the Major Leagues. Making his success even unlikelier is the fact that Pillar was selected in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft, 979th overall.

"I will always be grateful for the opportunity #CSUDH gave me," Pillar wrote in an Instagram post prior to Sunday's game.

After playing four highly productive seasons with the Toros, Pillar carried his success right into the Minor Leagues. In 2012, his first full season after being drafted, he was named Midwest League MVP while playing for the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts.

The Blue Jays circled back to the Toros in the 2017 MLB Draft, selecting outfielder Brandon Polizzi in the 35th round this past summer. Since Pillar was selected in 2011, 12 Toros have been drafted into the Majors.

Roster notes

The Blue Jays officially added Joe Biagini to the roster prior to his Sunday start and designated left-hander TJ House for assignment in a corresponding move. House made two relief appearances for the Blue Jays since being recalled earlier in the week.

House spent the year in the rotation with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, where he pitched 130 2/3 innings over 23 starts with an ERA of 4.27.

Biagini now slides back into the rotation for the remainder of the season and the Blue Jays will get a longer look at him as a starter. The right-hander took four starts to stretch out in Buffalo prior to being recalled, and with two rotation jobs expected to be available in 2018, a strong finish from Biagini could add clarity to those roles.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.