Prior to the 2022 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Kevin Pillar to a Minor League contract as an insurance policy and to provide them with veteran depth within the organization.
Playing baseball for Chaminade High School in West Hills, Calif., and growing up in the San Fernando Valley, meant the local ties to the Dodgers were important to Pillar and the full circle of his Major League Baseball career.
In early May, Pillar noted that the Dodgers were the best option for him given their ability to unlock a different gear for a player and have them at their best.
Pillar spent most of his time with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he posted a .315/.398/.604 batting line in 149 at-bats. He tacked on 10 home runs while driving in 40 RBI, but also was able to limit his strikeout rate to 12.5%.
The Dodgers selected Pillar’s contract on May 28 after the team placed Max Muncy on the 10-day injured list. He would get his chance on May 29 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, going 0-for-3 in his Dodgers debut.
Pillar registered only one hit in 12 at-bats with the Dodgers, striking out four times. Unfortunately, his lone knock, a double against the Pittsburgh Pirates, was followed up by a shoulder injury in the sixth inning that required him to be removed from the game.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed at the time that Pillar’s left shoulder popped out twice during the game. “The socket part basically broke in half,” Pillar later said. “It was a shock. It’s definitely a gut punch. It was devastating.”
Pillar underwent surgery to repair what was a fractured left shoulder, and put his season in doubt.
There was some chatter that he might be available to the Dodgers down the stretch, but after starting a hitting program in early August, Pillar never rejoined the MLB roster.
Kevin Pillar 2022 highlight
Because Pillar’s contributions to the Dodgers at the Major League level were slim, his best showing came with OKC. Prior to the callup, he posted a 150 wRC+ with a .429 wOBA in 36 games.
Pillar remains a free agent, and as a veteran outfielder at the backend of his career, going through a fractured shoulder and the recovery from that will keep his market slim. His path back to a big league roster will most likely depend on if he’s willing to take another deal similar to the one he signed with the Dodgers and be an on-call, seasoned outfielder.
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