Blue Jays’ Pillar wants to become a noted thief

There’s a little less Superman for Blue Jays’ fans to love this year.

And that’s a good thing.

Toronto centre fielder Kevin Pillar stole 25 bases for the Jays in 2015 but swiped 14 and 15 the last two seasons. This off-season, the West Hills, Calif. native decided he wanted to get back to being a threat on the bases, so he dropped a few pounds.

“I wanted to just be a little bit lighter on my feet,” said Pillar, who stole three bases in the eighth inning against the Yankees on Saturday. “And it’s not just stealing bases, but putting the thought of stealing bases in the (opposing) catcher’s and pitcher’s minds.”

The Jays are a team that has not stolen many bases in recent years and Pillar feels that has to change. He said if he and guys like new left-fielder Curtis Granderson can become base-stealing threats, that will play with pitcher’s minds.

“That’s huge for us,” said Pillar. “If people get on (base) and plant the seed that we’re going to run, pitchers are more likely to make mistakes and hitters are going to benefit from that.”

As for the straight steal home on Saturday, Pillar believes it’s a first for him at any level. Pillar said he and Granderson talked about stealing home during a workout on Wednesday after witnessing someone do it in pre-season action this winter.

“It’s just not done enough,” he said. “It’s obviously a huge gamble but sometimes when runs are tough to come by, especially early on in the year, you got to go out there and try to make stuff happen.”

Pillar credited first base coach Tim Leiper with preparing the players to steal pitches against certain pitchers every game. He said that paid off against Dellin Betances.

“We’re super-prepared as a team and as individuals and when those opportunities present itself, we got to go out there and execute,” he said.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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