TODAY: Kiermaier was indeed placed on the 10-day injured list prior to today’s game. Right-hander Louis Head was called up from Triple-A to take Kiermaier’s roster spot.
MAY 8: X-rays are negative on Kevin Kiermaier’s left wrist after the outfielder left today’s game due to what the team described as a wrist sprain. The injury occurred when Kiermaier was trying to steal second base in the second inning, and the center fielder looked to be in significant pain after jamming his left arm into the bag.
It seems like another trip to the injured list could be in order for Kiermaier, whose career has been defined by both superb center field defense and (unfortunately) his inability to stay on the field. Kiermaier averaged just 105 games per season from 2016-19 due to a variety of injuries, including a past wrist problem in 2019. A left quad strain already sidelined Kiermaier for 12 days in April, though if there wasn’t any structural damage on his wrist, he could be able to return to action from this latest issue after another relatively short absence.
The Rays already made an IL move prior to today’s game with the Athletics, as catcher Francisco Mejia was placed on the 10-day injured list due to left intercostal discomfort. The injury doesn’t appear to be overly serious, as manager Kevin Cash told reporters (including MLB.com’s Justice delos Santos) that the team’s initial hope was that Mejia would be fine after just a couple of days’ off, but a minimum 10-day absence will give time for Mejia to fully recover.
Given how Mejia has played in his debut season in Tampa, the Rays certainly want the young backstop to be free of any lingering injury. Acquired from the Padres as part of the Blake Snell blockbuster last offseason, Mejia has hit .300/.348/.450 over his first 67 plate appearances for the Rays, helping to bolster a catching spot that has long been a weak link in Tampa Bay’s lineup.
With Mejia out, Mike Zunino will get the bulk of playing time at catcher, while Kevan Smith was added from the taxi squad yesterday when Ryan Yarbrough was temporarily placed on the COVID-19 list. Yarbrough was already reinstated from the COVID-IL today, after recovering from some vaccine side effects.
To create a 40-man roster spot, Chris Archer was shifted from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL as the veteran right-hander continues to recover from forearm tightness. It was roughly two weeks ago that Cash said Archer would need “at least” a couple of more weeks of rehab time, and today’s transaction will push Archer’s return to June at the earliest. [UPDATE: Archer has been away from the team for several weeks due to a personal matter, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes that Archer’s mother passed away on May 1. MLBTR sends our condolences to Archer and his family.]