Rays outfielder has hairline fracture after attempted slide into first base
By David Adler
Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier has a hairline fracture in his right hip and will miss at least two months, manager Kevin Cash said on MLB Network Radio on Friday.
"He's going to go on the DL," Cash said. "He's got a hairline fracture in his hip region. He's going to at minimum be shut down six to eight weeks."
Kiermaier injured his hip sliding into first base feet-first in the fifth inning of Thursday's 7-5 win over the White Sox at Tropicana Field and was forced to leave the game. He was on crutches after the game and had tests scheduled for Friday.
The six- to eight-week healing timetable, plus whatever additional time Kiermaier would need to work his way back to game action, would place his earliest potential return in August.
"The thing about it is, when you're running down to first base, I can't run through the bag, or else I'm going to collide with Jose Abreu, who's a big dude," Kiermaier said of sliding into first after Thursday's game. "I made the decision to try to slide right there."
Mallex Smith has been called up from Triple-A Durham to serve as the Rays' primary center fielder in Kiermaier's absence, Cash said.
"Mallex is going to play center for us," Cash said. "Everything we've heard from Triple-A -- the Triple-A staff, [Bulls manager] Jared Sandberg -- is that he's a game-changer defensively. He's played well both offensively and defensively there. So we're going to go with him to start."
Kiermaier, a 2016 American League Gold Glove Award winner and one of the premier defensive outfielders in the game, is batting .258 with seven home runs, 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 62 games this season.
"We have options," Cash said. "Even Steven Souza can go play center field and fill in nicely. We still feel strongly about our outfield defense -- but saying that, we know we're not going to replace Kevin Kiermaier."
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.