Rays' Kevin Kiermaier reportedly out 8-12 weeks

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays

"I can't believe I'm saying this for a third year in a row now", he said Sunday (via the Tampa Bay Times).

Mallex Smith and Carlos Gomez are candidates to see time in center field until Kiermaier is ready to return. Right-handed reliever Chih-Wei Hu has been called up in his place.

Given the Rays' miserable start to the 2018 campaign and now the lost of perhaps their best all-around player, trade rumblings surrounding their more established players figure to crop up earlier in the year than usual.

Rays manager Kevin Cash indicated the injury could keep Kiermaier out for a "chunk" of the season.

Based on the similarity of the injury to what Angels star Mike Trout sustained past year on a similar play, that could mean an absence of at least seven weeks. Trout tore the ligament in his left, non-throwing, hand, had surgery and came back with no issues. An MRI on Monday morning revealed the extent of the injury.

Kiermaier has missed extended periods of time the last two seasons, including a fractured hip past year and a broken left wrist in 2016. Kiermaier missed 48 games after fracturing his left wrist in 2016 and 61 games with a fractured right hip last season.

"It's beyond frustrating", Cash said. KK going down doesn't help us get out of it. Busting around to second base.

Rookie Johnny Field, who made his Major League Baseball debut on Saturday stepped in for Kiermaier on Sunday. Rob Refsnyder is serving as the DH and hitting seventh against Martin Perez.

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