Kevin Kiermaier: Playing on Rays artificial turf is ‘a big deal’

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier has long been a key fixture in the franchise, but his status with the team for 2023 is uncertain. While he would like to return, outfielder Gold Glove admitted that a major factor could force him out of town.

Kiermaier admitted that playing at home on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field is a “big deal” and that playing on grass might be better for his long-term health.

“Part of me is like, would I be better off playing on grass every day, maybe,” Kiermaier said Saturday, via The Associated Press’ Mark Diddler. “I’m so used to everything here. There are so many pros and cons, so many more pros, but grass is definitely a big deal.

Kiermaier has many reasons to think about his health. The 32-year-old is out for the rest of the season after undergoing hip surgery. This health issue follows arthroscopic knee surgery which he required during the offseason. Ultimately, Kiermaier will end up playing 185 games in the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to his various injuries.

A three-time Gold Glover winner, Kiermaier is known for his flagship lineup and reel sets – so much so that he’s volunteered to get in on the job for other star athletes. One can certainly see how his style of play, combined with the artificial turf, could ultimately shorten his career.

Kiermaier has a squad option for 2023, although it is likely to be declined. Assuming that’s the case, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Sports Grp1

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