Tampa Bay Rays two-time Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is expected to miss at least two months because of a hairline fracture in his right hip.
Rays manager Kevin Cash made the announcement before Friday night’s series opener against the Oakland A’s.
Kiermaier, who signed a six-year, $53.5 million contract extension during spring training, suffered the injury during Thursday night’s 7-5 win against the Chicago White Sox after sliding awkwardly into first base while trying to beat out an infield hit in the fifth inning with Tampa Bay ahead 6-0.
“He’s going to be out a while,’’ Cash told MLB Network Radio. “He’s going to go on the DL. “He’s got a hairline fracture in his hip region. He’s going to at minimum be shut down six to eight weeks.”
Kiermaier underwent tests Friday and was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Kiermaier has struggled this season defensively, committing six errors in 62 games. He had two errors in 105 games last season.
This marks the second consecutive season Kiermaier, who is hitting .258 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs, will miss a significant portion of the season. In 2016, Kiermaier missed two months with a broken left hand and the Rays won only 14 of the 48 games he was sidelined.
With Kiermaier on the disabled list, the Rays called up Mallex Smith from Triple-A Durham, and Cash said he will be the club’s primary center fielder — for now.
“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.”
In other roster moves, the Rays placed first baseman Rickie Weeks Jr. on the 10-day DL because of a right shoulder impingement and acquired infield Taylor Featherston from the Philadelphia Phillies for cash considerations.
Shortstop Matt Duffy, out following offseason Achilles tendon surgery, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.