Kevin Pillar hit a single in his first at-bat back since getting smoked in the face with a 95 mph fastball. And he turned around a heater too. Let’s go!
AND OF COURSE KEVIN PILLAR SINGLES IN HIS FIRST AT-BAT BACK! pic.twitter.com/6Tqo4EL9KW— SNY (@SNYtv) June 1, 2021
I was at this game and can attest that the crowd behind the visitors’ dugout was LOUD. Everyone in the ballpark knew what this at-bat meant, and it was cool to see Pillar have some early success back in the box.
There’s nothing scarier than getting hit in the face with a fastball — except maybe your first attempt after getting crushed. There had to have been a major mental hurdle there, but Pillar rose to the occasion.
Future Hall of Fame Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom also had this to say postgame:
Jacob deGrom has immense respect for Kevin Pillar. deGrom wore Pillar’s No. 11 jersey in his rehab start for Low-A St. Lucie a couple weeks back, and tonight he poured on the appreciation for his teammate.— Deesha (@DeeshaThosar) June 1, 2021
deGrom’s full comments after Pillar’s pinch-hit base hit: pic.twitter.com/bjaTR6twW5
“It was huge. Everybody was pumped for him,” deGrom said. “I even said — I was inside doing some arm care stuff but was watching the game — and I said, ‘That’s huge for him to come back after what happened and staying in there and getting a base hit his first time up.’
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know KP, and the way he plays the game and how hard he plays and how much he wants to be out there. I have tremendous respect for him and have really enjoyed getting to know him and having him on this team. He’s an awesome guy.”
Pillar’s demeanor seems to be rubbing off on his teammates
“It was terrible when he got hit. Everybody was feeling bad, and he came in the next day saying, ‘Am I in the lineup?’ And you could tell he really wanted to be out there. So for him to get a hit that first time, everybody was pumped for him, and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.”
That’s high praise from Jacob deGrom, who’s been a New York Met since 2014. Welcome back, Kevin Pillar. You’re a monster.