8/22/2013 9:03 A.M. ET
Pillar relieved to get first big league hit on board
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Blue Jays rookie Kevin Pillar can finally relax and take a deep breath after he snapped an 0-for-17 skid Tuesday night against the Yankees.
The sharp single up the middle was the first hit of Pillar's Major League career. It also ensured he wouldn't join David Dellucci (0-for-19) for the most hitless at-bats to start a Blue Jays' career.
Pillar always knew the elusive first hit would eventually happen, but a weight has now been lifted off his shoulders and the 24-year-old believes it should help him focus on the task at hand.
"It feels good, and now I can just get back to playing baseball," Pillar said. "As confident as I am in my ability to hit and my ability to play, naturally it's going to carry a bit of weight, and a little bit extra, when it's your first hit in the big leagues.
"I definitely feel more relaxed. There's going to be a little bit of pressure on anyone going through that sort of struggle. It feels good to see the ball land, and it feels good getting hits, [whether] you're 0-for-17 or 6-for-7."
Pillar is getting his first taste of the Major Leagues after spending the past three seasons in Toronto's Minor League system. It was a quick rise to the top, and Pillar is now getting an idea of just how difficult it is to succeed against big league pitching.
In the Minors, there isn't nearly the same amount of video available compared to the Majors. Hitters tend to focus on their own abilities and shortcomings rather than worrying about what a pitcher is trying to do to get them out.
It's an entirely different story in the big leagues. Pitchers study the tendencies of each hitter and know what to expect going into each at-bat. Scouting reports travel quickly and it's up to the hitters to make the necessary adjustments.
"I think the biggest difference is they don't forget what you did yesterday or the day before," Pillar said of Major League pitchers. "If you chase a pitch out of the zone, they're going to do it again until you prove you can lay off it. [In the Minors], they may throw a ball out of the zone and then come back with a strike the next pitch.
"These pitchers are waiting for you to make an adjustment to them before they make an adjustment to you. I feel like if I can limit the chases out of the zone and narrow the plate a little bit, I feel like I'll have an easier time hitting."
Reyes ejected early after arguing strike call
NEW YORK -- Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes was ejected during the second inning of Wednesday night's game against the Yankees for arguing a called third strike with home-plate umpire Ted Barrett.
Reyes was up in the count, 2-0, vs. right-hander Adam Warren when Barrett proceeded to call strikes on three consecutive pitches. The final pitch was in the bottom part of the zone, and Reyes was seen screaming, "That was down."
Barrett initially didn't react, but the two later appeared to exchange some words as the inning came to an end. Reyes then threw his batting gloves, but it wasn't until he tossed his helmet while walking away from the umpire that the four-time All-Star was thrown out of the game.
"I looked at it on the video, and I thought the strike three that he called was a ball," Reyes said. "But he's the umpire, he knows what he's doing back there. Maybe I overreacted, throwing my helmet down and stuff, I never do that."
Toronto manager John Gibbons immediately came out to argue but remained in the game following a lengthy chat with Barrett. The ejection was the 10th this season for the Blue Jays.
The ejection didn't exactly come at an ideal time, as the Blue Jays are currently without the services of infielder Maicer Izturis because of a sprained left ankle. Veteran Mark DeRosa entered the game to play second, while Munenori Kawasaki moved over to shortstop.
That left Toronto with just a two-man bench for the rest of Wednesday night's game. Outfielder Moises Sierra and catcher J.P. Arencibia were the only reserves left at Gibbons' disposal, but luckily for the club, it didn't have an impact on the game.
If there was one regret Reyes had from what took place on the field, it was that he left a team that was already short-handed down yet another player.
"After he threw me out, I said, 'We don't have many people,'" Reyes said. "But in the moment, that stuff happens so quick I don't even think about it."
Izturis placed on DL with ankle injury, Goins recalled
NEW YORK -- Blue Jays infielder Maicer Izturis was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Wednesday with a sprained left ankle and the club recalled shortstop Ryan Goins from Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday.
Izturis suffered the injury while attempting to run out a ground ball during the fifth inning of Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Yankees. He remained in the game during the bottom half of the frame to play defense but quickly realized his side-to-side movement was severely hampered as the pain lingered.
The ankle swelled up overnight and was heavily wrapped prior to Toronto's 4-2 loss to the Yankees in New York on Wednesday night, which Izturis sat out.
Goins joins the Blue Jays after hitting .257 with 22 doubles, six home runs and 46 RBIs in 111 games for Buffalo this season. The 25-year-old left-handed hitter is in his fifth professional season after being selected in the fourth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Veteran Mark DeRosa and fan favorite Munenori Kawasaki will split duties at second until Izturis can return.
"When Kawasaki threw me the ball, I couldn't jump, and I said, 'I can't play like that,'" Izturis said of why he left Tuesday night's game.
Izturis is hitting .236 with five homers and 31 RBIs in 106 games, which is just 16 games shy of a career high.
Sierra recalled to take injured Bautista's roster spot
NEW YORK -- As the injuries continue to pile up, the Blue Jays once again turned to Triple-A Buffalo in order to help fill the gaps.
Toronto recalled outfielder Moises Sierra from the Bisons on Wednesday afternoon following an injury to slugger Jose Bautista. Buffalo's starting outfield of Kevin Pillar, Anthony Gose and Sierra now all find themselves on the Blue Jays' 25-man roster.
All three prospects were called up within the past week after Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus and Bautista all hit the disabled list with various ailments.
"He'll play, we'll get him in there tomorrow against Andy Pettitte, " Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Sierra. "Then we'll just see, we'll match them all up and give them all some playing time. It's an opportunity for some guys, you don't always get those in this business.
"You don't know what extended period of time it's going to be, but getting to the big leagues, some guys never get the opportunity, so take advantage of it."
Pillar and Gose are expected to see the bulk of the playing time in the outfield alongside veteran Rajai Davis. Sierra's opportunities likely will come when Gose sits against left-handed pitching and whenever someone in the starting three needs a day off.
Sierra appeared in 49 games for the Blue Jays last season but has struggled at times with Buffalo this year. He was hitting just .261, but did have 11 homers and 51 RBIs in 100 games for the Bisons.
The high number of injuries can't be used as an excuse for Toronto's underwhelming record this year but it's clear they have taken a toll on the club in recent weeks. In addition to the injured outfielders, the Blue Jays also are without the services of Steve Delabar, Josh Johnson, Dustin McGowan, Brandon Morrow and Juan Perez just to name a few.
"You deal with it," Gibbons said. "It seems to be happening in bunches lately, but that's part of it. Everybody goes through that and you have to show up the next day and play. You have no choice."