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    Angels’ Kevin Pillar celebrates career milestone
    • July 6, 2024

    CHICAGO — Kevin Pillar wore a suit to the ballpark Saturday, and then he found his locker decorated with streamers and balloons.

    It was all part of the celebration of the day he reached 10 years of major-league service, a threshold that only about 7% of major-leaguers reach.

    “It’s important to me,” Pillar said. “I felt like it was an appropriate day to put a suit on and show up to the field and be proud of this accomplishment.”

    Pillar, 35, did not get drafted out of Chaminade High in West Hills, and then he went to Cal State Dominguez Hills and was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft.

    10 years! pic.twitter.com/FQT4t1kU8V

    — Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) July 6, 2024

    Perry Minasian was a member of the Blue Jays’ front office when Pillar was drafted. As Angels general manager, Minasian brought Pillar back to the big leagues in late April, after he’d been released by the Chicago White Sox.

    Minasian spoke during a team meeting to recognize Pillar’s accomplishment Saturday morning. Pillar then spoke, and manager Ron Washington said he gave a perfect message to the rest of the team.

    “He made sure that everybody in there, especially the young guys, understand that you never know where your career is going to go and where it’s going to end,” Washington said. “During the time you have a career, cherish it and do everything you can get to get the best out of it. It was a class act. He gave a great speech.”

    Before that, Pillar told reporters that he’s at peace with what he’s done in his career, which he doesn’t expect to continue beyond this season.

    “I think this is it,” he said. “Pretty sure this is it.  I was pretty open and honest about that answer. I definitely came in this year. Individually wanting to accomplish things. Ten years being one of them, a couple of statistical accomplishments.

    “But it’s been an unbelievable journey to have accomplished so much in this game. My family sacrificed a lot over the last couple of years. I would never rule out continuing to play, but I definitely want to have the mindset that, if this is it, I was going to enjoy every single day, the good, the bad, the ugly, the successes, the failures. Just really dive all in and enjoy whatever happened.”

    Pillar has given the Angels more than they could have asked on the field, hitting .299 with six homers and an .867 OPS.

    Now, as the Angels approach the July 30 trade deadline, it’s possible that a contender could have a spot for him. Although the Angels wouldn’t expect to get a top prospect back for Pillar, Minasian likely wouldn’t stand in the way of Pillar having an opportunity for one last playoff run.

    Otherwise, the Angels would be happy to keep Pillar because of the influence he has on the young players.

    “His presence here has meant more to us than his performance and his performance has been pretty good,” Washington said. “It’s just his presence has made a big difference. With us having a young club, you need to understand how he got where he is, and the struggles it took to get where he is.”

    NOTES

    Infielder Luis Rengifo is set to see a hand specialist when the Angels return home. Even though he’s been placed on the injured list with what the team has called wrist inflammation, apparently the holiday weekend has complicated the process of getting a more specific diagnosis. …

    Third baseman Anthony Rendon came out of his first day of facing live pitching with no physical problems, but his timing was understandably off, Washington said. Rendon is set to hit again Saturday. “Maybe him taking those at-bats will tell him something,” Washington said with a smile. The Angels would like Rendon to do a rehab assignment, but players must consent to do that, and Rendon apparently believes facing minor-league pitchers at Angel Stadium will be sufficient. …

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    Washington wanted the Angels to skip on-field batting practice for all three of the games in Chicago – all day games – because he felt the team needed a mental break. However, hitting coach Johnny Washington disagreed, so the manager relented and the Angels had batting practice.

    UP NEXT

    Angels (RHP José Soriano, 4-6, 3.77) at Cubs (RHP Hayden Wesneski, 2-5, 4.14) at Wrigley Field, 11:20 a.m. PT Sunday, Bally Sports West, 830 AM.

    ​ Orange County Register 

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