SUNDAY: The Rays have placed Kiermaier on the IL with a sprained thumb, Toribio tweets. He won’t need surgery, though. Heredia’s coming up to replace Kiermaier.
SATURDAY: Sour news out of Tampa tonight, as MLB.com’s Juan Toribio indicates that Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier will likely miss time after injuring his left thumb in a matchup with the White Sox this evening (Twitter link). Toribio adds that the former Gold Glove winner was escorted from Tropicana Field to a local health facility for MRI testing, and that the club should have a better idea of his status on Sunday morning.
Apparently, Kiermaier was hurt while diving headfirst into first base. This kind of athletic abandon has helped make Kiermaier a fan favorite since debuting with the Rays in 2013, and he usually draws strong marks for both his baserunning and defense. This year’s effort at the plate has produced a substandard 87 wRC+ (.245/.292/.424 slash), which is below his almost exactly league-average career offensive output (99wRC+). The outfielder has missed time in recent years with right hip, left wrist and right thumb injuries.
Though it’s possible this injury is only of the day-to-day variety, the Rays do have a few options in the event of an extended absence for Kiermaier. Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows have both played some center in their careers, and Guillermo Heredia is on hand at AAA Durham should the club need reinforcement in their pursuit of postseason entry. Tonight’s loss to Chicago marked Tampa’s fifth straight defeat.