Somewhere, Sammy Sosa is smiling. Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports that Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar strained his oblique while sneezing. Pillar is expected to miss a week of action but should still have plenty of time to be ready in time for the start of the regular season.
Baseball fans may recall that former Cubs great Sammy Sosa injured his back with a sneeze in May 2004, so Pillar is certainly not alone. The injury caused Sosa to miss more than a month of the regular season.
Pillar, 26, should get regular playing time in left field while Michael Saunders is on the disabled list. There’s a decent chance, though, that Saunders is ready by Opening Day, which would force Pillar back to the bench. Pillar hit .267/.295/.397 with two home runs and seven RBI in 122 plate appearances for the Jays last season.
The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.
Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.
Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.