The Toronto Blue Jays designated reliever Anthony Bass for assignment Friday amid continued backlash for sharing an anti-LGBTQIA post on social media.
The 35-year-old right-hander had been scheduled to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Pride Toronto activist leZlie Lee Kam before Friday's game against the Minnesota Twins to kick off the team's fourth annual Pride Weekend.
Bass was booed by fans in Toronto in both of his appearances since sparking the controversy on May 29. The post he shared on Instagram, which had to do with the recent fallout experienced by Bud Light and Target after the companies' ad campaigns showed support for the LGBTQIA community, described the sale of LGBTQIA merchandise as "evil" and "demonic."
Bass apologized on May 30 and spoke to reporters about the situation on Thursday, saying he is "working hard" to educate himself but also saying he does not think the post was hateful.
"I do not," Bass said. "That's why I posted it originally. When I look back at it, I can see how people would view it that way and that's why I was apologetic."
He said he deleted the post because "it was the right thing to do" and he didn't want it to be a distraction for the team.
"But I stand by my personal beliefs," Bass said, "and everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right? Also, I mean no harm towards any groups of people."
"My focus from the get-go should have been doing my job and being accepting of everyone's decisions and views in life," Bass added. "Through this process, I've learned that. Moving forward, I will definitely know better than to post my personal beliefs on my social media platforms."
Toronto general manager Ross Atkins addressed the issue for the first time Thursday.
"I felt his apology and his accountability to be authentic or we would be talking about a different outcome, quite frankly," Atkins said. "That was absolutely necessary for us to be together with how strongly we feel about the progress that has been made by the Toronto Blue Jays in this community."
One day later, the Blue Jays decided to move on. In 22 appearances out of the bullpen this season, Bass posted a 4.95 ERA with no decisions. He is 16-28 with a 3.91 ERA and 15 saves in 382 games (19 starts) with seven teams since making his MLB debut in 2011.
The Blue Jays reinstated right-hander Mitch White from the 60-day injured list in a corresponding move on Friday. He began the season on the IL with shoulder fatigue.
White, 28, is 3-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 48 games (22 starts) with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2020-22) and Blue Jays (2022).
--Field Level Media