Giants’ Pillar goes in-depth on the art of robbing home runs, team claims new pitcher

The Giants claimed pitcher Andrew Moore off waivers from Tampa Bay

TORONTO, ON – APRIL 23: Kevin Pillar #1 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates their victory during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays Rogers Centre on April 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

CINCINNATI — If Kevin Pillar looked like a natural climbing the center field wall in Cincinnati on Saturday night, it’s because he is one.

The Giants outfielder scaled an eight-foot fence to rob Reds rookie Nick Senzel of his first major league home run, impressing his teammates and everyone in attendance at Great American Ball Park with how easily he moved himself into position to make the play.

Sports Info Solutions said Pillar’s Saturday robbery was the third of his career, and considering the degree of difficulty, it may have been his best. After propelling his body high above the wall, Pillar eventually needed to reach back toward the field to snag Senzel’s fly ball.

“Off the bat, I thought it was going to be a little further than it was,” Pillar said. “Obviously playing here for just the second time, just understanding the reputation of this place that balls carry here, it sounded good off the bat and fortunately it was hit high enough that I had time to plan my steps a little bit. I had to make an adjustment on the fly.”

Pillar’s first career home run robbery came during his rookie season with the Toronto Blue Jays as he hauled in a long Tim Beckham flyball above the 10-foot fence in left field at the Rogers Centre on April 15, 2015. His July 1, 2018 catch to rob a homer off Nick Castellanos of the Detroit Tigers also required incredible timing, but Saturday’s robbery forced Pillar to make a play in unfamiliar territory.

Despite never playing a game in Cincinnati prior to Friday, the veteran outfielder said he was comfortable climbing the center field wall because he does plenty of homework to prepare for a situation just like the one he encountered in the third inning.

“I like to go out and shag BP the first day pretty intently,” Pillar said. “Try to get as many game looks as I can. If I’m not moving around out there, I’m tracking balls with my eyes. I’m always sizing up the wall. I think it’s something you look for as an outfielder to go out and make a play like that. It just comes with a lot of pre-pitch stuff, constantly looking to see where the wall is. You kind of have to have a sixth sense to do something like that.”

After Saturday’s game, Pillar revealed that he actually took his eye off the ball so he could find proper footing. Once he prepared himself to extend his glove hand well beyond the fence, Pillar realized the ball was slightly closer to the wall than he anticipated.

“I think moments like that, you’ve just kind of got to rely on your instincts and what you hear and what you see,” Pillar said. “Things happen quickly out there and I knew my best chance of catching the ball if it was over the wall was to get up on that thing and try to get as much reach over the wall as I can. I did take my eye off of it to get my footing correct on the wall and was a bit surprised to see that the ball was not hit as far as I initially thought it was.”

In his next at-bat, Senzel tagged a fastball from Dereck Rodríguez and sent it into the right field seats, finally securing his first major league home run. He was likely relieved he didn’t hit the ball anywhere near Pillar, who also took away a hit from the Reds prospect in his debut on Friday with a sliding catch in right center field.

“I was kind of speechless,” Senzel told Cincinnati-based media on Saturday. “He made a really good play. I thought I hit it better than that. I tip my cap.”

Giants claim Andrew Moore

The Giants claimed right-handed pitcher Andrew Moore off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday and designated Triple-A infielder Breyvic Valera for assignment.

Moore was 0-2 with a 12.98 ERA in five games this season at Triple-A Durham and struggled during nine appearances with the Seattle Mariners in 2017.

Moore was a highly touted prospect coming out of Oregon State and selected in the competitive balance round by the Mariners in the 2015 draft. The right-hander owns a 3.43 ERA in 94 career minor league games and will report to Double-A Richmond.

The Giants have a vacancy in the Double-A Richmond rotation after prospect Logan Webb was suspended for 80 games last week for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Longoria sits again

Giants third baseman Evan Longoria (left shoulder inflammation) will sit for the second straight day after hitting the go-ahead home run in the 11th inning of Friday’s game.

Longoria is considered day-to-day and may be available to pinch-hit in Sunday’s game. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is taking a scheduled day off and catcher Stephen Vogt is expected to make his first start with the Giants in Monday’s matinee.

blog comments powered by Disqus