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Rays' Kevin Kiermaier to miss at least two months with hip fracture

Kevin Kiermaier was undergoing testing this morning to determine the severity of damage to his right hip after awkwardly sliding into first base.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Kevin Kiermaier was undergoing testing this morning to determine the severity of damage to his right hip after awkwardly sliding into first base.

UPDATE, 12:10: Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier will be sidelined for at least two months after tests showed a hairline fracture in the hip area. Kiermaier has been diagnosed with a non-displaced small fracture (of the hip socket) and does not need surgery.

Kiermaier will need 6-8 weeks for the fracture to heal and then work his way back into baseball shape, returning, at the earliest, sometime in August.

"He's going to be out a while,'' manager Kevin Cash said.

RELATED: Kevin Kiermaier doesn't regret slide, just getting hurt

Mallex Smith has been called up from Triple-A Durham and will take over as the primary centerfielder.

"He's going to get his chance,'' Cash said.

Smith is considered a game-changing player on the bases and in the field, and the Rays may have to make due with whatever he contributes offensively.

Still, they will miss Kiermaier.

Though he has uncharecteristically had issues in this field this season - his six errors, all in the last 40 games, are by far the most of any centerfielder - he was still a major piece of the Rays lineup offensively and defensively. During spring training, the Rays signed him to a six-year deal guaranteeing $53.5-million, with an option.

That was abundantly evident last year when he missed two months with a broken left hand and the Rays struggled immensely, going 14-34 in the 48 games he missed. Overall, the Rays were 48-54 (.471) with him in the lineup, 20-40 (.333) without him.

 

DEVELOPING: The Rays will be hoping for the best today regarding the hip injury to two-time Gold Glove centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier but the signs late Thursday were not good.

Kiermaier was undergoing testing this morning - MRI, CT scan, x-rays, etc - and a doctor exam to determine the severity of damage to his right hip after awkwardly sliding into first base.

He needed crutches to walk after the game and was clearly in pain, and there was concern in the clubhouse he could be out for an extended period. The initial diagnosis was a jammed hip.

Barring a dramatic improvement, Kiermaier at least would seem likely headed to the 10-day disabled list given how much of his game relies on speed, and that the Rays, starting tonight, play four games in a 45-hour span, and on turf.

"Pretty sore right now,'' Kiermaier said after the game. "Doesn't feel too great. ... But after looking at the replay, I wasn't expecting it to feel too good, so we'll see what everyone has to say (today) and go from there."

Though Kiermaier has uncharecteristically had issues in this field this season - his six errors, all in the last 40 games, are by far the most of any centerfielder - he is still a major piece of the Rays lineup offensively and defensively. During spring training, the Rays signed him to a six-year deal guaranteeing $53.5-million, with an option.

That was abundantly evident last year when he missed two months with a broken left hand and the Rays struggled immensely, going 14-34 in the 48 games he missed. Overall, the Rays were 48-54 (.471) with him in the lineup, 20-40 (.333) without him.

Assuming Kiermaier will go on the disabled list for at least a short stay, expect the Rays to recall speedy Mallex Smith from Triple-A Durham. They could make Smith the primary starter, or consider other options such as shifting Steven Souza Jr. or Colby Rasmus to center, or using a platoon of Smith and Peter Bourjos.

"Hopefully it's not too bad,'' Bourjos said after Thursday's game. "It looked like he jammed it pretty good. I think everybody is praying, holding their breath he comes and everything is okay.'

Kiermaier was hurt on a play in the fifth inning when he was trying to beat out an infield hit against the White Sox.

"Just trying to keep the inning going,'' he said. "I know there is one out. I felt like I had a good chance of beating José Abreu to the bag right there. It was a bang-bang play. I slide and my right hip, watching the replay kind of just caught the ground and didn't feel too good. Once I tried walking I knew I was going to have to come out of the game. Pretty sore right now. Not happy about coming out of the game or anything like that. You always see bad things when people slide into first base, but I'm just trying to keep the inning alive right there. The thing about it when you run down to first base, I can't run through the bag or else I'm going to collide with José Abreu, who is a big dude so I made the decision to try to slide right there.''

 

 

[Last modified: Friday, June 9, 2017 5:06pm]

    

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