The Blue Jays announced that outfielder Kevin Kiermaier has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to August 7, due to a right elbow laceration. Fellow outfielder Nathan Lukes was recalled in a corresponding move.
Kiermaier collided with the center field wall in Fenway Park on Sunday while making a catch. He required eight stitches, per Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet, though manager John Schneider said there were no structural concerns and that Kiermaier was considered day-to-day. Now it seems the club will give him an extra week-plus to rest his arm and get into game shape.
He’s having yet another excellent defensive season, having earned 13 Defensive Runs Saved and eight Outs Above Average on the year, as well as a mark of 4.1 from Ultimate Zone Rating. His bat is also above average, as he’s slashing .274/.336/.415 on the year for a 109 wRC+. That’s been a bit frontloaded, as he hit .319/.365/.521 through the end of May but just .222/.303/.294 since the start of June. Nonetheless, it’s been a strong season overall for the 33-year-old.
With Kiermaier out, the club will likely rely on Daulton Varsho as the everyday center fielder. He’s hitting just .218/.280/.367 this season though has shown some recent signs of life. He’s hit .320/.370/.600 since July 30, though in a small sample of just nine games. Even with the tepid offense, he’s provided 19 DRS, 6.1 UZR and 5 OAA, along with 12 steals, though the Jays would surely love for his bat to stay hot for an extended stretch.
With Varsho in center and George Springer in right, left field could be covered by some combination of Lukes, Whit Merrifield, Davis Schneider and Cavan Biggio. Lukes has hit just .190/.280/.333 through his first 25 major league plate appearances but has a strong .333/.414/.564 line in Triple-A this year. He’s mostly played the corners but has seen some time in center in the minors, allowing him to serve as Varsho’s backup, though Merrifield and Biggio also have some experience there.