This afternoon the Blue Jays announced that they have suspended Kevin Pillar for two games as a result of the insults he shouted at Jason Motte after striking out in the late innings last night.
#BlueJays suspension of Kevin Pillar was handed down in consultation with MLB and PA says GM Ross Atkins.— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 18, 2017
This afternoon, Pillar posted an apology for last night on Twitter:
In his stead, Dwight Smith Jr has been promoted to the major leagues. While it was likely not the animating factor - or at least should not have been - by suspending Pillar themselves, the Jays do not lose the roster flexibility they would have in the event that MLB had eventually done so:
The suspension to Kevin Pillar pulls him off 25 and 40 man rosters, clearing spot for Dwight Smith Jr.— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 18, 2017
If Smith is in the lineup this evening, the native of Peachtree City, Georgia will be making his Major League debut in his home state. He was a first round supplemental pick in the 2011 draft (for losing Kevin Gregg), 53rd overall. WIth solid seasons in 2013 at Lansing and 2014 at Dunedin, he reached AA in 2015 and got off to a strong start, batting .321/.365/.474 in April. But he stalled out and stagnated at the level, finishing with a .711 OPS in 2015 and .765 OPS in 2016 repeating the level (although he doubled his home runs from 7 to 15).
In 2017, he was promoted to AAA Buffalo and stormed out of the gates. He's cooled off the last couple weeks, but is still sporting a .297/.350/.422. At this point, he's as good an option as anyone, though it will be interesting to see if he's just up for these two games.