Kevin Kiermaier on injury: “I want this to be ‘you miss a couple games’ rather than more”
Photo credit:Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis3 months ago
Kevin Kiermaier has spent a decent amount of time on the Injured List during his career. He doesn’t want that to be the case this season.
The three-time Gold Glove-winning centre fielder was removed from the Blue Jays’ game against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday after trying to throw out Willi Castro at home plate. Kiermaier tried to make another big throw in the second inning and it became clear that something wasn’t right.
“By the second throw, I wasn’t feeling good at all,” Kiermaier said after the game. “I knew I did something to tick something off down here.”
Kiermaier told manager John Schneider that he’d be able to stay in the game and bunt rather than swing, but he was ultimately pulled in favour of Cavan Biggio while Daulton Varsho slid over to centre field from left. Kiermaier also didn’t suit up for the series finale in Minnesota on Sunday, in which Varsho again manned centre.
Given the 33-year-old’s history with injuries, being cautious is the right move. Kiermaier broke out as arguably baseball’s best defensive outfielder in 2015 and 2016 and was then limited to 98 and 88 games respectively in 2017 and 2018. He was largely healthy in 2019, 2020, and 2021, but appeared in just 43 games in 2022 because of a hip injury.
“I knew that I was going to have to come out of the game, which I’m not proud of, but these things can linger,” Kiermaier said. “Unfortunately the best thing for it is time. I want to play. I want to be out there. But I want this to be ‘you miss a couple games’ rather than more.”
The Blue Jays have a much-needed off day on Monday after grinding through 17 games in 17 days. They’ll host the Milwaukee Brewers for three games starting on Tuesday and Schneider said that Kiermaier will be a game-time decision.
“He was doing better,” Schneider said Sunday afternoon. “With the off day, I wanted to be a little bit conservative with him. All things are trending in the right direction. We’ll see how it goes and see how he comes in on Tuesday.”
Kiermaier joined the Blue Jays on a one-year, $9 million contract in the off-season and the longtime Tampa Bay Ray went from a public enemy in Toronto to a fan favourite almost immediately. Through 154 plate appearances this season, Kiermaier is slashing a .319/.366/.511 line with four home runs and he’s providing Gold Glove-quality defence in the outfield.
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