TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays designated pitcher Anthony Bass for assignment on Friday, one day after the righthander said he didn’t think an anti-LGBTQ+ social media post he shared last month was hateful.
The move came hours before Bass was set to catch a ceremonial first pitch from Toronto LGBTQ+ activist leZlie Lee Kam before Friday’s game against Minnesota as the Blue Jays begin their fourth annual Pride Weekend celebration.
The team now has seven days to trade Bass or put him on waivers.
Bass apologized before a May 30 game against Milwaukee, one day after sharing a post on his Instagram calling for anti-LGBTQ+ boycotts of Target and Bud Light over support they showed for the LGBTQ+ community. Both companies are dealing with fallout from those campaigns, which have included hostile and homophobic criticisms and calls from LGBTQ+ activists not to cave to the pressure.
Bass, who was booed by Toronto fans in his two home appearances since the apology, spoke to a group of media before Thursday’s win over Houston, saying he stood by his “personal beliefs.”
He also said he is “working hard” to educate himself, including meeting with the executive director of activist group Pride Toronto.
Bass, 35, is a 12-year veteran who has also played in Japan. He was 0-0 with a 4.95 ERA in 22 games.
To replace Bass, Toronto activated righthander Mitch White off the 60-day injured list.
The move came a day after the Red Sox started Matt Dermody against the Cleveland Guardians, despite knowing he had posted a homophobic tweet in 2021.
The organization learned of the issue after singing Dermody to a minor league contract. Chief baseball officer Chain Bloom said he discussed the issue with Dermody and elected to keep the 32-year-old lefthander in the organization.
Dermody was designated for assignment shortly after Boston’s 10-3 loss to Cleveland on Thursday. He allowed three runs on four hits in four innings in his first major league appearance of 2023.