'We shouldn't make too big a deal about it': Gibbons on Pillar blowup
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons yells at the home plate umpire after a late 3rd strike call caused Kenrys Morales, not shown, to get caught out during sixth inning MLB baseball action against the Baltimore Orioles, in Toronto on Friday, July 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, August 20, 2018 6:54PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 20, 2018 8:27PM EDT
TORONTO -- As far as Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is concerned, his blowup with outfielder Kevin Pillar is water under the bridge.
Gibbons praised Pillar to media on Monday afternoon, a day after he yelled at the outfielder in Toronto's dugout in a 10-2 loss to the Yankees in New York. Gibbons was furious with Pillar after the outfielder had been caught trying to steal third base for the final out in the sixth inning.
"Let's be realistic: it's hard to criticize Kevin Pillar," said Gibbons. "For the way he goes about his business. You never worry about effort, he sacrifices everything he's got.
"I've got zero complaints about Kevin Pillar, other than that I didn't like what he did yesterday."
Pillar was on second with two out in the sixth inning in New York, with the Yankees leading 6-2 and shortstop Aledmys Diaz at the plate for Toronto. Pillar ran on a 1-0 count, and New York catcher Kyle Higashioka easily gunned him down at third.
Gibbons yelled at Pillar from across the dugout for nearly half a minute as Pillar removed his batting helmet and gloves to head back out into the outfield for the bottom of the inning.
"You're down, you've got a couple of outs, there's a certain way to play the game," said Gibbons. "Even if you're safe, I don't think it's a smart play. Because (Pillar) is one guy who can run and can score from second anyway.
"If they're giving you the bag and those guys are way off, or something, that's different."
Pillar had a double in the first inning on Monday night as the Blue Jays began a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles in Toronto. Gibbons turned to a camera in the Blue Jays dugout, smiled, and gave a thumbs up after the play.
Asked if his motivation for yelling at Pillar on Sunday was to set an example for many of the younger players in the Blue Jays lineup, the veteran Toronto manager said he was simply caught up in the moment.
"I'm not even worried about that, I'm just reacting to the situation," said Gibbons. "I've had those before. There's a lot of things going on that you guys aren't even aware of.
"I don't think we should make too big a deal about it."
Gibbons then laughed as reporters listed off other blowups he's had with players in his two stints as Toronto's manager including arguments with corner infielder Shea Hillenbrand, third baseman Josh Donaldson, and pitchers Dave Bush and Ted Lilly.
"Keep going, there's a longer list than that," said a grinning Gibbons.