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Kiermaier could return to Rays this weekend

Center fielder collecting ABs in the Minors to polish off rehab assignment
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Kevin Kiermaier will play center field for the Class A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs on Tuesday night in Jupiter and could be just a few days away from returning to the Rays' lineup.

" [We will] keep our fingers crossed," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I know I want to see him back, we all want to see him back, because he's such an igniter for us."

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TORONTO -- Kevin Kiermaier will play center field for the Class A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs on Tuesday night in Jupiter and could be just a few days away from returning to the Rays' lineup.

" [We will] keep our fingers crossed," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I know I want to see him back, we all want to see him back, because he's such an igniter for us."

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Cash says the plan is to get Kiermaier roughly 20 at-bats, which puts his potential return sometime during Tampa Bay's home series against the Mariners that begins Friday. Kiermaier had taken nine at-bats as a designated hitter heading into Tuesday's action with Charlotte.

Kiermaier, a 2016 American League Gold Glove Award winner, last played June 8 before hitting the disabled list with a hairline fracture in his right hip. In 62 games, Kiermaier was hitting .258 with an OPS of .737.

Rays notes

• Cash sounded optimistic about starter Alex Cobb on Tuesday. Cobb is working his way back from turf toe and experienced some discomfort when he played catch on Monday, but Cash now believes his right-hander could be throwing off a mound very soon.

"Cobb actually had a really good day today," Cash said. "Woke up feeling good, if he can play catch again we're going to try to get him off the mound [Wednesday]."

• Right-hander Matt Andriese is scheduled to pitch again with Charlotte on Friday. Andriese is rehabbing from a right hip stress reaction.

In his first rehab start with Charlotte on Sunday, Andriese threw 50 pitches over three innings and allowed two runs on four hits while striking out a pair. In 12 starts with the Rays this season, Andriese has a 3.54 ERA and is striking out a career-best 8.1 batters per nine innings.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Kiermaier