Angels News: Kevin Pillar Surprised By Resurgence
MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels are in another year of searching for contributions from unexpected places. Injuries to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon once again put the Angels in a spot where they had to seek out castoffs from other places to simply fill a lineup card. And one of those names is veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar.

Pillar was granted free agency by the Chicago White Sox — the team with the worst record in the American League — on April 30, and was picked up by the Angels — the team with the second-worst record in the AL — on the same day. After posting a .650 OPS in 17 games with the White Sox, the Angels couldn’t have been expecting elite production from the 35-year-old.

But that’s exactly what has happened. In 69 plate appearances over 19 games, Pillar is slashing .409/.435/.712 with a 1.147 OPS. He has eight extra-base hits — five homers — with 21 RBI and only 11 strikeouts. No one, not even Pillar, expected this type of outburst on the Angels, according to Rhett Bollinger of

“I would be lying if I wasn’t a little bit surprised but this game is crazy,” Pillar said. “Just my journey to get here. Being with the White Sox, being released [in late March] and signing back. And then not playing much and getting released again and being home a few days. But I just told myself that if I was going to get another opportunity, first and foremost, I’m going to enjoy it.”

Pillar is on his ninth MLB roster since 2019, so the journey to get here has been as long and winding as anyone’s in the Majors. But this type of stretch — even if it’s only temporary — could do wonders for elongating his career. But in the Angels, he has found a mutually beneficial home.

“There were things that I set out to accomplish individually and I’ve been able to do most of those, but I think a lot of the success just comes from coming into a place where people believe in you,” Pillar said. “They’re confident in you and you’re here for a reason. But today’s success doesn’t mean success tomorrow, so I have to continue to work and believe in my abilities.”

The Angels never expected to rely on Pillar for middle of the order power. But that is the direction their season has taken them, and it’s another in a long line of players who have gotten second chances due to the Halos’ lack of depth.

Angels seeking victory to begin June

The Angels kick off June with a Saturday evening battle against the Seattle Mariners. L.A. dropped the series opener on Friday despite a game-tying, pinch-hit grand slam from Jo Adell, and have now lost six of their last seven outings.

First pitch is at 4:15 p.m. PST on FOX and featured Reid Detmers on the mound against Bryce Miller.

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