kevin pillar mets
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Pillar spoke to the media Tuesday for the first time since a 95 mile-per-hour fastball knocked him out of Monday’s victory.

At this point, you’re likely aware of what occurred towards the end of Monday night’s Mets win over the Braves. In the top of the seventh inning, New York outfielder Kevin Pillar took a 95 mile-per-hour fastball from Atlanta reliever Jacob Webb to the face. The incident caused him to leave what was eventually a 3-1 victory and subsequently hit the injured list Tuesday with multiple facial fractures.

However, Pillar is feeling fine, according to the man himself. The 32-year-old had a chance to speak to the media before his team’s Tuesday night matchup at Truist Park.

“I feel good, I feel real good actually. Despite not looking so good, I feel as close to normal as possible,” he said. “The only tough thing is my right eye is suffering from a  little bit of swelling and I can’t really breathe out of my nose. But besides that, I feel good; I feel lucky and just excited to start this recovery and get back to doing what I like doing.”

Pillar’s placement on the injured list further extends an already humongous IL for the Mets — Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, and Jacob deGrom are all unavailable due to health-related issues.

The current status of the ballclub, in that regard, is truly crushing Pillar at the moment.

“I had to take a moment to myself to just collect myself; I was sad. It wasn’t so much about the pain, it was just about the fact that this team’s gone through a lot,” Pillar said. “I pride myself on being available and I don’t always enjoy the results of going out there every single day but I do enjoy the challenge of being available every day and I enjoy playing. And that’s the thing that hurts the most.

“My face will heal, but my heart is broken right now — this team’s hurting right now. I came here and didn’t really know what my role was going to be and I was gifted an opportunity to go out there and play every day. I don’t take that lightly and it hurts.”

The incident certainly shifted the overall mood inside Truist Park — players from either team, including Jacob Webb, kept Pillar in their thoughts and prayers.

Webb additionally came out of the game after the hit-by-pitch and was visibly stunned and distraught while sitting in the Braves dugout, almost as if he physically couldn’t move from his spot on the bench.

But like a true pro, Pillar is handling the entire situation with grace.

“I know [Webb] didn’t want to hit me; I know he didn’t want to hit me in the face. The bases were loaded and it was a 1-0 game and accidents do happen,” Pillar said. “I know he feels bad, I know me and him talked last night and today, and I’m almost more worried about him than I am myself. I saw his reaction and I know how tough that could be on someone who feels responsible for someone getting injured.

“I just tried to relay that message to him — I know that it was unintentional and he needs to continue to be confident and believe in himself and his stuff. I’ll be fine.”

Many people on this earth, after taking a 95 mile-per-hour fastball to the face, wouldn’t return to a batter’s box again in their life.

Don’t include Kevin Pillar in that group of individuals — he’ll be back.

“I’ve had over 3,000 at-bats in my career and I’ve been hit twice in the face. That’s a pretty low percentage of that happening,” he said. “I think if I sit there and try to worry about that happening again — it’s such a small percentage of the at-bats I’ve had and I think I’ll be fine. I just think time’s going to heal this and I’ll step back into the box.”

Pillar additionally noted he probably won’t wear face protection when he returns.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.