More than two months after he suffered a fractured hip, Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier came off the disabled list on Friday. Kiermaier, the team's defensive wizard in center field, should return to Tampa Bay's lineup for the first time since June 8 against the Chicago White Sox.
The 27-year-old outfielder missed two months with a fractured hip, then saw his rehab assignment pushed back due to persistent back soreness. But now pain free and after a five-game stint in the minors, Kiermaier is back in action and will patrol center field on Friday night.
Kiermaier is good news for both fantasy owners and the Rays. Just as the fantasy playoffs start to begin, fantasy owners land the return of an outfielder who can contribute quality production in runs scored, stolen bases and extra-base hits with some pop. While he might be slow out of the gate in the first few days given the amount of time he missed, it shouldn't be long after before he returns to his normal ways.
Tampa Bay is excited for the return Kiermaier's bat, but of greater importance is his defense in center field. Kiermaier leads all MLB outfielders since 2015 in UZR/150 (24.4) and Defensive Runs Saved (78), despite the fact he played 500-plus fewer innings than the other top names. He will further help a Rays' defense that ranks near the top in baseball and that is great news for Tampa Bay's starting pitchers.