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Kevin Pillar has been suspended for two games by the Toronto Blue Jays for using an anti-gay slur, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet and sportscaster Hazel Mae.
Both Pillar and the team apologized on Twitter earlier on Thursday:
The incident occurred during Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. According to ESPN.com, “Pillar struck out swinging to end the seventh inning, he says, after he was quick-pitched by Braves pitcher Jason Motte, yelling toward the mound before Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped in to calm things and the benches cleared.”
The game was tense throughout, with Freddie Freeman getting hit in the wrist and injured in the fifth inning, per Chris Bahr of Fox Sports. The benches then cleared twice in the game, both after the incident with Pillar and again in the eighth inning after Jose Bautista flipped his bat following a solo home run.
Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said that the Blue Jays consulted with Major League Baseball and the players association before deciding on the punishment, per ESPN.com.
Pillar further elaborated on the incident, per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm:
“Yeah, I mean, obviously [the quick pitch] was the initial thing I was upset about but I think it just stems from a little frustration in myself and just the way this series has been going. It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for. It’s part of the game, it’s just, I’m a competitive guy and a heat of the moment. Obviously I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to reach out and apologize and let him know he didn’t do anything wrong, it was all me. Obviously something to learn from, something to move on from. Don’t let it define me but really I think it was just frustration from coming off a really good homestand and really just not even being in any of these ball games, just coming out flat and not being able to build on what we were able to build on against Seattle. That just all came out in that moment.”
According to Chisholm, Pillar’s pay for those two games will be donated, though the specifics remain unresolved.
The Blue Jays have found themselves in this position before when Yunel Escobar displayed an anti-gay slur on his eye black in 2012 and was suspended three games by the team.