Kiermaier has a hip issue, while Zunino needs an operation to treat thoracic outlet syndrome
The Tampa Bay Rays will be without center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and catcher Mike Zunino for the rest of the season, according to team sideline reporter Tricia Whitaker. Kiermaier will undergo surgery to repair a torn hip labrum while Zunino will undergo an operation to treat thoracic outlet syndrome.
Kiermaier, 32 years old, batted .228/.281/.369 (89 OPS+) with seven home runs and six stolen bases (on seven tries) in 63 games this season. His contributions were worth 1 Win Above Replacement, per Baseball-Reference’s calculations.
It’s at least possible that Kiermaier, by far the longest tenured Ray, may have played his final game with the franchise. His contract includes a $13 million club option, but the Rays seem more likely to either trade him (they’ve discussed him in various deals over the years) or buy out his option for $2.5 million.
Zunino, 31, failed to follow up on his impressive 2021 season in 36 games this year. Instead, he batted .148/.195/.304 (44 OPS+) with five home runs and more than seven times as many strikeouts as walks. He too may have played his final game with the Rays, as he’ll qualify for free agency this offseason.
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The Rays, who entered Monday with a 52-43 record on the year, have resorted to a pair of timeshares during Kiermaier and Zunino’s absences. Behind the plate, Tampa Bay has been rolling with a combination of Francisco Mejía and Christian Bethancourt, recently acquired from the Oakland Athletics. In center, the Rays are now positioned to platoon Brett Phillips with Roman Quinn, a former member of the Philadelphia Phillies who joined the team late last week.