Ex-Files: How Pillar, former Blue Jays are faring in the young season

Fan favourite former Blue Jay Kevin Pillar returns to Rogers Centre as a member of the San Francisco Giants, taking some BP.

Following his early season trade to the San Francisco Giants, Kevin Pillar’s return to Rogers Centre will certainly bring back memories for fans and former Toronto Blue Jays teammates alike.

The latest edition of the Ex-Files takes a look at how Superman and other former Blue Jays are faring nearly a month into the 2019 season.

Kevin Pillar – San Francisco Giants
4 HR | 14 RBI | .192/.205/.372

After driving in just one run and getting a lone hit in 17 plate appearances with the Blue Jays, Pillar needed just eight days in San Francisco to take the team lead in RBIs, driving in 13 – including eight in two games and his first career grand slam.

Defensively, the 30-year-old is still pulling off run-saving heroics.

His numbers for the month are down when compared to past years, but, to Giants fans, Pillar is their Mr. April.

Josh DonaldsonAtlanta Braves
4 HR | 7 RBI | .270/.400/.500

Donaldson’s bat seems to finally be heating up after a slow start to the year and a mediocre spring training. The former MVP, who signed a one-year, $23-million deal with the Braves this off-season, got two of his four home runs in Atlanta’s Sunday win over the Cleveland Indians. He’s hit .341 with a 1.181 OPS over the last two weeks, getting all four of his homers during that span.

More importantly, he’s looking healthy.

Russell MartinLos Angeles Dodgers
1 HR | 2 RBI | .333/.500/.600

Martin was put on the 10-day Injured List on April 10 with a lingering back injury, but should be activated for the Dodgers’ home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates starting April 26. Before hitting the IL, the 36-year-old’s numbers were making the Jan. 11 trade look like a good deal for the Dodgers (especially since they’re not paying most of his salary), and Martin even found some non-traditional ways to help the team.

Kendrys MoralesOakland Athletics
1 HR | 3 RBIs | .179/.277/.250

Speaking of position player pitching, Morales’ inning on the mound against the Blue Jays might just be his most interesting achievement so far this season.

The 35-year-old had pitched an inning before: Last year, against the A’s, in a Toronto uniform.

The switch-hitter was acquired by the A’s in late March to play first base while Matt Olson deals with a hand injury. Morales’ meager numbers through 18 games must have fans itching for Olson’s return.

Troy TulowitzkiNew York Yankees
1 HR | 1 RBI | .182/.308/.545

Tulowitzki was placed on the 10-day Injured List with a calf strain – but Blue Jays fans have heard that before. Toronto’s decision to release Tulowitzki last November hinged greatly on his inability to stay healthy. The infielder had a good spring training taking over for Didi Gregorious, out for most of the year after Tommy John surgery, but ended up seeing just five games before being sidelined once again.

J.A. Happ – New York Yankees
5 G | 25.2 IP | 5.96 ERA | 22 K | 8 BB

After a stellar post-trade campaign for the Yankees last season, Happ has yet to find his form in the Bronx this year. His 2018 ERA of 2.69, which was instrumental in the two-year, $34-million deal he got from the Yankees in the off-season, has turned into a dismal 5.96 with seven home runs allowed through five starts in 2019.

Happ has struggled to retire batters with his trademark four-seamer, and switched to throwing primarily his sinker over his last two starts. The adjustment seems to be paying dividends, as the lefty pitched seven innings on Monday, in a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels, giving up two earned runs on three hits.

Steve PearceBoston Red Sox
0 HR | 1 RBI | .138/.194/.172

Adding to the Red Sox’s early season woes, the defending World Series MVP started the year on the IL with a calf injury and hasn’t been productive since returning as a utility man for the Red Sox. Pearce, who was traded to Boston for minor-leaguer Santiago Espinal on June 28, had three homers and eight RBIs in last year’s Fall Classic, but has yet to drive one over the wall this year. The 36-year-old signed a one-year, $6.25-million contract with the BoSox in the off-season.

Edwin EncarnacionSeattle Mariners
6 HR | 15 RBI | .241/.354/.470

Encarnacion is doing what he does best: Leaving the yard. The 36-year-old’s six home runs rank 11th in the American League, and he even homered twice in one inning during a lopsided Mariners win over the Kansas City Royals. The slugger was part of a wild three-team trade in the winter meetings, which saw Carlos Santana return to the Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays acquire a couple of minor-leaguers.

Marco Estrada – Oakland Athletics
5 G | 23.2 IP | 6.85 ERA | 11 K | 8 BB

Estrada is another player on this list who has hit the 10-day IL in the young season. The right-hander was diagnosed with a lumbar strain on April 17, after allowing at least six runs in each of his last two outings. Estrada signed a one-year, $4-million deal with the A’s in the off-season.

David Price – Boston Red Sox
4 G | 24 IP | 3.75 ERA | 30 K | 5 BB

Price has been a stabilizing presence in the Red Sox’s attempted resurgence after the team’s subpar start to the season. The lefty has carried the load of an ace as Chris Sale continues to struggle with his command. Price has allowed just five walks through 24 innings, and pitched five good innings against the Rays on Sunday as Boston swept Tampa Bay in the three-game road series.

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