Major League Baseball investigates Blue Jays' Pillar over apparent slur

Lynette Rowe
May 19, 2017

Pillar was angry at Braves pitcher Jason Motte for allegedly quick-pitching him to get a strikeout that ended the seventh inning in Wednesday night's 8-4 loss to Atlanta.

After the game, Pillar apologized, but gave no insight into what he had said. "[Quick pitches] are part of the game, it's just, I'm a competitive guy and heat of the moment". Don't let it define me but really just I think it was just frustration from coming off a really good homestand and really just not even being in any of these ballgames, just coming out flat - not being able to build on what we were about to build on in Seattle. "It's something that just came out".

Pillar said he planned to reach out to Motte to apologize.

Afterward, Pillar conceded to reporters that he was frustrated by his team's struggles, though he didn't mention what was said. "It's something to learn from, something to move on from. Inexcusable, Pillar", @ReesorBoy wrote.

President of baseball operations John Hart says he knows no player can replace the production lost by the injury to Freeman, who shared the major league lead with 14 homers and was hitting.341. The Braves hoped offseason addition Sean Rodriguez would have been the fill-in for Freeman this season, but Rodriguez may miss the full season with a shoulder injury sustained when a vehicle he was driving was rammed by a stolen police auto in Miami on January 28.

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The tension didn't end with Pillar's outburst.

The next inning, Bautista came to the plate with the Braves ahead 8-3 and hit a long home run against Atlanta's Eric O'Flaherty.

"When the best hitter in the game goes out, it really sucks", said Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz (2-4), who allowed three runs in six innings for the win. Shortstop Yunel Escobar, then playing for the Blue Jays, was suspended for three games after writing a homophobic slur in Spanish on his eye black, the substance ballplayers put below their eyes to reduce the sun's glare. Jace Peterson shouted something at Bautista as he rounded first base, and Suzuki exchanged words with the Blue Jays slugger after he touched home plate.

"It's turned into look-at-me stuff".

O'Flaherty then brought up a punch that Bautista took just over a year ago during a scuffle with Texas second baseman Rougned Odor. He hit a home run with (the Braves holding) a five-run lead and throws the bat around. "It's exhausted. We've seen it from him though". "It's just exhausted. We've seen it from him enough".

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