Saturday, August 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Kiermaier to have surgery, miss about 12 weeks

UPDATE, 6:14: Kiermaier will have the surgery done Friday by Dr. Doug Carlan in St. Petersburg, the third surgery with him – right hamate bone in 2012, left wrist in 2016.

UPDATE, 5:02: Cash said Smith will get the bulk of the playing time in center in Kiermaier's absence, which sounds as much about giving him  a chance to show what he can do as not taxing Gomez. … Also, Cash said Hu was called up because of how "taxed" the bullpen is again, and that depending how Snell does tonight and Tuesday's bullpen day goes they could make an additional move and add a position player.

UPDATE, 3:55:  Kiermaier said he was expecting bad news "but hearing those words that I'm going to be out for months at a time is really hard to take right now."

Also,  Kiermaier said going on DL for extended time 3rd year in a row due to a "freak type accident" left him "shocked, surprised and sometimes it just doesn't feel real … that it has to be some kind of sick joke."

UPDATE, 2:29: Mallex Smith will start in center tonight, with Field in left and Gomez staying in right. Assuming Hu is just protection for the bullpen, it may come down to whether they want to wait for Miller to come off the DL on Friday as to whether they bring up another player. … From the sound of things, Kiermaier is expected to miss the longer end of that estimate, like 12-13 weeks.

UPDATE, 1:01: The Rays have since confirmed the Kiermaier diagnosis. Their intial plan is to call up RHP Chih-Wei Hu to add an extra arm to the bullpen.

UPDATE, 12:05: Kiermaier will have surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb and is expected to miss 8-12 weeks, the Tampa Bay Times has learned. An announcement from the team is expected later today.

The Rays have been in this position before, each of the last two years actually, waiting for test results but expecting bad news regarding an injury to centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier.

This time it's a right thumb injury, sustained sliding headfirst into second Sunday while taking an extra base, with the potential to keep him out for what manager Kevin Cash said could be "a chunk" of the season.

Based on the similarity of the injury to what Angels star Mike Trout sustained last year on a similar play, that could mean an absence of at least seven weeks.

Kiermaier, though, injured the thumb on his right hand, which he uses to grip the ball to throw, and could mean a longer absence.  Trout tore the ligament in his left, non-throwing, hand, had surgery and came back with no issues.

Kiermaier was undergoing an MRI this morning  and the Rays should know more before tonight's game against Texas.

RELATED: Kiermaier can do anything asked except stay healthy

This will be the third straight season that Kiermaier will miss extended time.

In 2016, he broke his left wrist diving for a ball in Detroit and missed 48 games, during which the Rays struggled immensely, going 14-34.

In 2017, he fractured his right hip after awkwardly sliding feet first into first base and missed 61 games, during which the Rays went 29-32.

He also missed time during the 2012 minor-league season when he fractured both hands.

"It's beyond frustrating," Cash said after Sunday's game. "We are all tired of KK getting hurt and there's nothing he can do about. He goes about his business as hard as anyone in the game. It was a typical KK play. Busting around to second base. The guy bobbles the ball. You'd like to see a little more reward for that than missing significant time, but this is three years running now where there is a chance he's going to miss a chunk."

Rookie Johnny Field, who made his MLB debut on Saturday stepped in for Kiermaier on Sunday.

Over an extended period, the Rays may be more likely to shift veteran Carlos Gomez from right to center, where he made 1,027 of his career 1,091 outfield starts before joining the Rays this year to play right.

Another option could be to play Mallex Smith in center.

As for replacing Kiermaier on the roster, the Rays could turn to lefty hitters Micah Johnson, who was impressive during spring training, or newly acquired Jeremy Hazelbaker, though either would also have to be added to the 40-man roster. Another option would be to call up prospect Jake Bauers, though he is primarily a first baseman and has not gotten off to a good start.

Another factor in the decision on the replacement is that lefty hitting Brad Miller is aiming to come off the DL by the end of the week, so either the Kiermaier replacement, Field or Rob Refsnyder would seem likely to go then.

Comments
It’s David Price time, from Rays ‘openers’ to rise of Blake Snell

It’s David Price time, from Rays ‘openers’ to rise of Blake Snell

BOSTON — David Price heard about the recent reunion of the Rays' 2008 American League championship club that he played a big role on as a small part of, and he had a few questions.What players were there? How did it go? Did second baseman Akino...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Rays journal: A 3-0 first-inning lead turns into a loss to powerful Red Sox

BOSTON — Scoring three runs in the top of the first inning is typically a good start toward a victory.But not so much at cozy Fenway Park.And definitely not against these red-hot Red Sox.Facing their AL East rivals for the first time since late...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Manager Kevin Cash has talked up RHP Ryne Stanek as an MVP of the opener experiment, given how well he has handled the transition to pitching the first inning. On Friday, not so much. Stanek said he didn't think relieving Thursday had an impact.OF Ma...
Updated: 9 hours ago
The Rays’ kids are all right, and this is a great time to show it

The Rays’ kids are all right, and this is a great time to show it

This baseball season has been filled with Haves and Have Nots. And your entertaining Rays are smack dab in the middle of it.Kevin Cash's team left New York for Boston on Thursday night and they hardly needed a plane after a 3-1 win and their first se...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Red Sox, in another tough test

For starters: Rays at Red Sox, in another tough test

UPDATE, 6:30: Another round of heavy rain and lightning has come through, though Cash said earlier he was told the storm would clear out and the game would be played. A delay seems likely as the tarp is still on.UPDATE, 5:51: C Jesus Sucre said his s...
Published: 08/17/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ win over the Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ win over the Yankees

NEW YORK — Here's Marc Topkin's takeaways from the Rays' 3-1 victory over the Yankees Thursday:1. Give mild-mannered 29-year-old rookie Adam Kolarek credit for handling the pressure of a bases loaded no-outs in the ninth situation and clos...
Published: 08/16/18
The Rays finally won a series in Yankee Stadium. Now for some perspective.

The Rays finally won a series in Yankee Stadium. Now for some perspective.

NEW YORK — After the Rays exhaled following Thursday's tense-as-they come 3-1 win, they were able to appreciate the significance of what they'd done.For now.And, more importantly, for the future.Really, it shouldn't be that hard. They make thre...
Published: 08/16/18
Rays journal: Rookie Adam Kolarek picks good time for first career save

Rays journal: Rookie Adam Kolarek picks good time for first career save

NEW YORK — There was a lot that went into the Rays hanging on to their 3-1, series-clinching win over the Yankees Thursday.Including the conversation  reliever Adam Kolarek had with himself jogging in from the bullpen with the bases loaded...
Published: 08/16/18
Rays hang on for 3-1 victory, win first series at Yankee Stadium since 2014

Rays hang on for 3-1 victory, win first series at Yankee Stadium since 2014

NEW YORK – Once they got done exhaling, the Rays had reason to celebrate Thursday.In hanging on for a 3-1 win and taking two of the three games, they won their first series at Yankee Stadium since the middle of the 2014 season.Twelve times sinc...
Published: 08/16/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking for a rare series win

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking for a rare series win

UPDATE. 12:01: Cash said they are confident Pham's foot is fine and there is no risk activating him after just one rehab game. Also, that Pham was adamant about wanting to play in Yankee Stadium (for the first time in his career) and in playing leftf...
Published: 08/16/18