Controversial relief pitcher Anthony Bass was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Friday in the wake of the firestorm caused by an anti-LGBTQ+ social media post.
It was the corresponding move after the Blue Jays reinstated Mitch White from the 60-day injured list.
Bass, 35, reposted a video to his Instagram story in late May discussing “the biblical reason Christians should boycott Target and Bud Light” amid the companies’ ongoing LGBTQ+ campaigns.
He was set to catch the ceremonial first pitch before the Blue Jays’ game against the Twins on Friday night as the team begins its Pride Weekend celebrations, but it appears they reversed course just hours before game time.
Bass has come under heavy criticism from fans and was booed at Rogers Centre shortly after the message.
He eventually apologized after sharing the post on his Instagram story.
“I’ll make this quick,” Bass told reporters on May 30. “I recognize yesterday that I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine, and I am truly sorry for that.
“I just spoke with my teammates and shared with them my actions yesterday. I apologized [to] them and, as of right now, I am using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward. The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark and we want to welcome everybody.”
Following Bass’ post, a Blue Jays spokesperson told Toronto’s CityNews that “individual player sentiments are not representative of the club’s beliefs.”
Bass also met with Pride Toronto executive director Sherwin Modeste on Tuesday, while the plan for him to catch Friday’s first pitch was reported Thursday.
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters on Friday that, “this was part of a baseball decision,” but added that “the distraction component was a part of it.”
Bass owns a 4.95 ERA in 22 appearances out of the bullpen this season.