After playing in 109 of the Blue Jays’ 112 games this season, centre fielder Kevin Pillar was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left thumb strain, according to a media release Monday afternoon. Darrell Ceciliani has been recalled from the triple-A Buffalo Bisons to take Pillar’s roster spot.
Pillar, who has become known throughout baseball for sacrificing his body to make spectacular catches in the outfield, had actually never been on the disabled list since his major league debut in 2013. Assistant hitting coach Eric Owens mentioned that Pillar spent most of the second half of 2015 with a broken hand. He did, however, miss a few spring training games due to a particularly powerful sneeze. Pillar's DL stint is backdated to August 7 as he did not play in Sunday’s game.
His current injury actually did not come directly from one of his diving attempts, but on a slide into second base on Saturday.
Ceciliani has spent the majority of 2016 with the Bisons, although he did spend a week in Toronto in mid-June, getting into a couple of games. Ceciliani has patrolled all three outfield positions with the Bisons this year while hitting .268/.331/.444 with nine homers and 14 doubles in 284 plate appearances. He has been doing well in Buffalo since he was sent back down.
Ceciliani is likely to spend the majority of his time on the Blue Jays’ bench, with Melvin Upton Jr. taking over the centre field starting role while Pillar is away. Upton has struggled since his trade to Toronto, getting just four hits and a walk in 33 plate appearances, while striking out a whopping 14 times.
The version of the lineup John Gibbons will send out against the Rays tonight has Michael Saunders DHing, Upton in centre field, and Ceciliani in left field. Josh Thole gets his second start in a row with R.A. Dickey on the mound. The Blue Jays' bench consists of Russell Martin, Justin Smoak, and Darwin Barney. A short bench is the price the club has to pay to keep six starters in the rotation.