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Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier welcomes pain relief, big honor

The centerfielder is relieved of neck pain with help from the Rangers’ chiropractor, and he also is named the Rays’ nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, shown during a game earlier this month, is the Rays' nominee for Major League Baseball's prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, shown during a game earlier this month, is the Rays' nominee for Major League Baseball's prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. [ ALLIE GOULDING | Times ]
Published Sep. 13, 2019
Updated Sep. 13, 2019

ARLINGTON, Texas — Kevin Kiermaier had reason feel good Thursday.

Most significantly because a series of chiropractic adjustments had greatly reduced the tightness and pain in his neck, allowing him to at least be available for limited action with a potential return to the lineup this weekend.

“An absolute game-changer,’’ Kiermaier said. “The adjustments we’re doing are huge for what I need to do. Kind of get some joints back to where they need to be, back in place, alignment.

“I’ve already made crazy, crazy strides forward but still have a lot of muscles that are inflamed and whatnot. Still not feeling quite where I want to be, but the progress I’ve made the last 24 hours has made me a happy man.’’

Kiermaier called Dr. Jerrod Wright, the Rangers’ team chiropractor, a “lifesaver” and said he might seek additional treatments this weekend in California, aiming to be at least 70-80 percent speed.

The centerfielder was also pleased to be chosen as the Rays’ nominee for MLB’s prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

Kiermaier said he was “grateful” and “pumped” to be selected for the honor, given annually to the player who best represents the game “through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions” on and off the field.

“This is definitely one of the cooler things I’ve been affiliated with,’’ he said. “I’ve always said if I ever had a chance to kind of make a name for myself in the big leagues, it would be cool to give back any way possible.’’

Kiermaier is involved with the Children’s Dream Fund, which helps children with life-threatening illnesses by fulfilling requests to take trips, attend events, meet celebrities. He and his wife, Marisa, donated $25,000 to establish the Kiermaier’s Kids program and fund the dreams for five children, hosting some at the Trop. He also participates in the annual Rays on the Runway fashion show and the Tuesday’s Champion program in which the team hosts children at games.

Each team has an award nominee, and an overall winner is chosen by a panel, with a component from fan voting at

Snell sharp in second start

Lefty Blake Snell threw two stellar innings for Triple-A Durham. In his second rehab start, he retired all six batters he faced, three on strikeouts, throwing 14 pitches each frame. Manager Kevin Cash said the reports on Snell’s outing were “very, very encouraging” and that he texted the team athletic trainers that he felt “significantly better” than in 1st rehab start. Snell, recovering from July 29 elbow surgery, is slated to meet the Rays in California on Friday. They will decide whether he needs to throw in a simulated game or is set to return with the Rays, possibly against the Dodgers next week. Durham lost 6-2 to Columbus (Indians) and was swept in the best-of-five International League championship series.

More medical matters

Avisail Garcia returned to the lineup and was back in centerfield Thursday after leaving Tuesday’s game and sitting out Wednesday with a sore glute. … Tommy Pham was back in leftfield after sitting out or being limited to DH duties the past week because of a strained forearm/elbow. Manager Kevin Cash said they’ve asked him to “manage” his throwing, and they will try to get him some more DH days. … Yonny Chirinos (finger inflammation) did “really well” in throwing 21 pitches Wednesday in a simulated game in Port Charlotte, and he will do so again Monday. … Infielder Brandon Lowe swung well against Chirinos but “felt a little tired in his legs” from running several days in a row, Cash said, though is “still making progress” and will face Chirinos again on Monday. … Infielder Eric Sogard (bruised right foot) remains limited to pinch-hit duty, as he did again Thursday.

Casting a line for Trout

Angels superstar Mike Trout is aiming to return to action against the Rays on Friday after missing four games, but he won’t know for sure until testing his right foot, having undergone a procedure Monday to relieve a nerve issue. Rays manager Kevin Cash is just fine with Trout being cautious and taking a few more days. “It’s amazing what he’s done and the pace he’s kept,’’ Cash said. “I’d love to shake his hand and meet around the cage with him and not see him on the field.’’ … The Angels will be without talented two-way player Shohei Ohtani, who is having surgery Friday to repair a congenital condition in his left knee. Ohtani has been limited to DH duty this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1, but he’s working to return to pitching next season.

Quote of the day

“It affected our baserunning.’’

Cash, joking about the strong and swirling winds during Wednesday’s game, in which the Rays had four runners caught off base


• Thursday was the Rays’ final game at Globe Life Park, as the Rangers are leaving after 26 years for a new $1.2 billion retractable roof stadium being built nearby. The Rays were 39-56, plus three playoff wins and a Game 163 victory there.

• Though speedster Johnny Davis slipped Thursday while trying to steal and was later picked off in his first big-league game Thursday, Cash said they won’t be hesitant to use him: “We’ve got to see what he’s capable of doing.’’

• The Rays have already sold out of the $7.11 tickets for their Sept. 20 game against the Red Sox at the Trop; regular-price tickets start at $20.

• Wednesday’s 10-9 loss included a 55-minute first inning in which three Rays threw a combined 62 pitches in giving up seven runs, not recording the first out until the 41st pitch.

• Triskaidekaphobia alert: The Rays are 9-10 on previous Friday the 13ths.