Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Kiermaier knew injury was serious before diagnosis

DETROIT — CF Kevin Kiermaier didn't have to wait for assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker to run out on the field or for results of the X-rays taken at Comerica Park to know something was severely wrong with his left hand after he attempted a diving catch in the fifth inning Saturday.

"I heard it crack right away," Kiermaier said. "I was in a lot of pain obviously. I knew something was broke."

The Rays said Kiermaier, their Platinum and Gold Glove winner, broke two of the small metacarpal bones on the top of his hand but deferred any course of action and timetable for a return until after he is seen by team hand specialist Dr. Doug Carlan in St. Petersburg on Monday. There is a potential for surgery and an absence of at least two months.

"It's just really unfortunate," Kiermaier said, fighting back tears as he talked about the frustration of being injured. "I'm going to be out for quite a while."

Kiermaier was racing in to try to catch a sinking line drive by James McCann when his glove caught on the grass and his left wrist bent back. "Made my hand go a way that it's never gone before," he said.

Kiermaier missed a good chuck of the 2012 minor-league season after breaking bones in both hands but has been relatively healthy as a big-leaguer.

BOMBS AWAY: What had been a 1-1 game got away from the Rays in the seventh, though they did rally back before losing 5-4.

LHP Drew Smyly, the former Tiger making his second trip back with the Rays, had allowed only a solo homer through six innings but gave up a leadoff single then, after falling behind 3-and-0, a homer to James McCann.

"I battled, I made a lot of good pitches," Smyly said. "Two pitches is what they barreled up, and they happened to go out of the ballpark."

Manager Kevin Cash, searching for other bullpen options beyond RHPs Erasmo Ramirez and Alex Colome, summoned Steve Geltz with one out, and that move bombed again. Geltz walked Ian Kinsler, then gave up a two-run homer to J.D. Martinez, the fourth time in his past six outings he has given up a game-deciding homer.

"I'm in a funk, or whatever you call it," Geltz said. "I just need to get better, make better pitches, help my team out."

Cash said the walk was the more egregious mistake: "Getting the ball over the plate right now seems to be a little bit of a struggle for him."

LONGO MILESTONE: 3B Evan Longoria's sixth-inning homer was his 500th extra-base hit, the first to do so with the Rays. "I wish it would have come on a better day, but it's a cool achievement," he said. It also extended his hitting streak to nine games, the team high for the season, and was his eighth homer.

ARCHER ON CALL: RHP Chris Archer has been pitching better since beginning the season 0-4, 7.32, but he isn't getting off to good starts. He has allowed 10 of his 24 runs (for a 10.00 ERA) in first innings and thrown 30 or more pitches in four of his nine, including his past two.

"I don't throw enough strikes in the first inning, that's what it is," Archer said. "I said this my past few outings, and I do think I've made progress — I wasn't perfect by any means — but I plan on continuing to be aggressive."

REHAB REPORT: RHP Brad Boxberger (core muscle repair surgery) faced four batters for Triple-A Durham on Saturday in his third rehab appearance, getting two strikeouts and giving up a homer and a single. He needs to make back-to-back outings before returning.

MISCELLANY: The loss snapped the Rays' four-game winning streak and their team record-tying run of scoring six or more in six straight games. … Cash said he was honored to log his 100th career win Friday, getting there in his 201st game, quicker than the previous Rays managers.

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