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Pillar out 4-6 weeks with sternoclavicular sprain

MLB.com @gregorMLB

BOSTON -- Kevin Pillar lays his body on the line as much as anyone in baseball and for the first time in his professional career that aggressive style has led to a severe injury.

Pillar was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday morning with a sprained sternoclavicular (SC) joint, which is where the collarbone attaches to the chest wall. The injury is rare in baseball but extremely common in football, rugby and even car accidents.

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BOSTON -- Kevin Pillar lays his body on the line as much as anyone in baseball and for the first time in his professional career that aggressive style has led to a severe injury.

Pillar was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday morning with a sprained sternoclavicular (SC) joint, which is where the collarbone attaches to the chest wall. The injury is rare in baseball but extremely common in football, rugby and even car accidents.

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The 29-year-old Pillar is expected to be out for at least the next four to six weeks. His left arm is currently in a sling, and will remain immobilized for one week. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated two weeks after that. The injury is serious, but it also could have been a lot worse.

"There are a bunch of ligaments in the joint capsule there, and he stretched through it," Blue Jays head trainer Nikki Huffman said. "When we brought him out, you could see it. That's actually an emergency situation. If those go backward, instead of forward, it can be fatal. They can cut off your airway, they can cut off arteries, they can cut off nerves that go to your arm.

"So it was a pretty emergent situation yesterday with him. The team docs here did a great job getting him over to the hospital, the emergency room, getting him to the X-rays and CT scans. He actually came out the best that he possibly could have come out with this injury."

Pillar sustained the injury while making a diving grab during the third inning of Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Red Sox. He sprawled out to make a head-first catch which started a double play, but when he landed on the ground, his left arm and shoulder drove into the ground with such force that it caused the SC joint to move forward and stretch ligaments in the area.

The California native said he hopes to return closer to the four-week mark, but the club won't know for sure until at least early August. Prior to Sunday, Pillar had appeared in all but one of Toronto's games this season. This marks just the second time in six seasons that he has required a stint on the DL. Randal Grichuk is expected to take over as Toronto's everyday center fielder during Pillar's absence, while Dwight Smith Jr. should also expect to see more playing time in the outfield.

"Immediately, they could see that my collarbone was out of place," Pillar said. "I was there for a long time with [Hufman] yesterday, so I was able to get fairly educated on it. Stuff she told you, she told me.

"As an athlete, as a competitor, I always ask what the worst-case scenario is, and what's the best-case scenario going in, because I want to know how long I'm going to be out for. When they came back with their results, this was obviously the best-case scenario. Just take it day by day."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Kevin Pillar