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Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier: No one else ‘can do what I can do out there’

A soaring, leaping, HR-robbing catch at the wall Monday, and a brief injury scare, make for another eventful night.
Kevin Kiermaier (right) was off to the side early Monday watching Tampa Bay Rays' Guillermo Heredia (54) greeted by teammate Willy Adames after scoring off a wild pitch during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in San Diego. [GREGORY BULL | Associated Press]
Published Aug. 13
Updated Aug. 13

SAN DIEGO — Kevin Kiermaier showed again Monday that he is willing to race across the outfield, fly through the air and crash into walls to catch a baseball.

And to catch the eye of anyone who has doubted his supreme talent.

MORE RAYS: Players talk about Kevin Cash’s decision to pull Ryan Yarbrough

Kiermaier did Kiermaier things in the eighth inning of Monday’s 10-4 win over the Padres, going a long way from his admittedly self-positioned shallow spot in center to the wall well on the rigftfield side and making a spectacular grab that robbed Francisco Mejia of a home run.

"I always say if you want this elite reputation you’ve got to make elite plays,'' Kiermaier said. "And I think that was an elite play. Still always trying to make a case that I just don’t think anyone else can do what I can do out there.''

Kiermaier won Gold Gloves in 2015-16 but not since, as he was limited to less than 100 games each season due to injuries.

That was a concern Monday as he stayed down for a few minutes after hitting the wall, but waved off the athletic training staff and eventually walked off the field on his own. He likely won’t be in the lineup Tuesday.

MORE RAYS: Tampa Bay stays hot with 10-4 win Monday in San Diego

Kiermaier said he felt “okay” but thought he may have hit his head on the wall and thus may have "a little bit of whiplash.''

He said the catch ranked among his best, though not surpassing his signature home-run robbing catch on Aug. 31, 2015, in Baltimore.

"It’s another notch in the belt,'' he said. "It’s one of my better catches. The degree of difficulty, that was really tough. The play was pretty quick to me to be honest. Very happy to see it go in my glove.''

Kiermaier said the base for making such a play is getting position to make it and them timing the jump to get max height at the wall. "I did everything the perfect way to make that play,'' he said.

"Outstanding, but we’ve seen a lot of them,'' Cash said. “He kind of came out of nowhere and grabbed it. I’m sure he’s a little sore and banged up, but he’s not hurt. He was able to get off the field. Just a highlight reel play that we’ll see over and over tomorrow.”

Contact Marc Topkin at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays


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