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Mets' Kevin Pillar on wearing mask: Like an 'extra layer of skin on'

New York Mets left fielder Kevin Pillar, right,

New York Mets left fielder Kevin Pillar, right, talks to first base coach Tony Tarasco after hitting a single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 31, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Credit: AP/Rick Scuteri

SAN DIEGO — Kevin Pillar would prefer not to have to wear his black, custom-made, 3D-printed mask during games, but with his face still healing after getting hit with a fastball last month, he understands it is a necessity.

At least this one fits well.

"It’s almost like having an extra layer of skin on," Pillar said. "It’s so tight to my face and so perfectly fit that I don’t even notice it anymore except for the people who make fun of me in the outfield."

Pillar debuted the new mask Thursday after wearing a clear, generic version bought off Amazon. He said he can see normally when wearing it in the outfield and expected the same to be true on the bases (though he was 0-for-11 in the series before singling in the sixth Saturday night).

 

"If I had a choice, I wouldn’t wear it," he said. "It’s what I gotta do. It’s as normal probably now as putting a hat on. It’s something I’ve adjusted to really quickly."

As for the fans trying to bully him, well, Pillar didn’t want to get specific. "That’s not fit for this Zoom call," he said. "People are rude. People are mean. People come to the games and feel entitled to say what they want to say. But I would say it’s all in good fun, but it’s kind of sad at some point. It is what it is. You buy a ticket, you say what you want to say. No one’s really crossed a line quite yet."

Progress for Villar

Jonathan Villar was missing from the lineup for a third day in a row Saturday because of a tight right hamstring.

"A little better, but we still didn’t feel comfortable to start him," manager Luis Rojas said.

Villar had a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth inning, then stayed in to play third base. That was progress compared to Friday, when he pinch hit and did not play defense.

Old friend alert

The Mets signed outfielder Cesar Puello to a minor-league contract, a source said. He will join Triple-A Syracuse.

Puello was in the Mets’ farm system from 2007-15 and at one point was among their top prospects. He has played in parts of three major-league seasons with the Angels, Rays, Marlins and Red Sox. With Boston’s Triple-A club this year, he had a 158/.370/.184 slash line in 15 games. He recently opted out.

Extra bases

The Padres claimed Sam McWilliams off waivers from the Mets. The Mets signed him in November to a major-league contract even though he had never played in the majors . . . Dominic Smith stole his second base in less than a week on Saturday. Before that, he had one steal in his entire career.

The Padres claimed Sam McWilliams off waivers from the Mets. The Mets signed him in November to a major-league contract even though he had never played in the majors.

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