We generally hate the slide into first base unless it's to avoid a collision, and it's possible that's what happened here. It's just that Kiermaier's foot caught the front of first base and buckled his hip.
The news gets pretty bad from here. There's a hairline fracture in Kiermaier's hip area and he'll be out around two months. Via tampabay.com:
Kiermaier will need 6-8 weeks for the fracture to heal and then work his way back into baseball shape, returning, at the earliest, sometime in August.
"He's going to be out a while,'' manager Kevin Cash said.
This is obviously a big blow to the Rays. Kiermaier is generally regarded as the premier defensive center fielder in baseball. He's hitting .258/.329/.408 (104 OPS+) with 10 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 10 steals as well, so he's an asset both at the plate and on the field. The Rays signed him to a six-year, $53 million contract extension this past winter.
The Rays enter Friday 31-31, which is in contention in the AL East and certainly in the wild-card mix. Youngster Mallex Smith will get a chance in center with Kiermaier down. In 81 career games at the MLB level, Smith is a .241/.319/.358 hitter with 19 stolen bases. In 30 games for Triple-A Durham this season, he's hitting .311/.345/.477 with 16 stolen bases.
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