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Kiermaier back to old self after battling bug

Special to MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Kevin Kiermaier had quite a rough experience battling some kind of virus over the weekend. He left the game early on Friday and Saturday, and did not start Sunday.

The good news as the Rays began the three-game series in Baltimore is that he is feeling more like his old self. Kiermaier was able to come in late in Sunday's game as a defensive replacement but had improved enough Monday to get the start in center field. He went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in the 6-3 loss to the Orioles.

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BALTIMORE -- Kevin Kiermaier had quite a rough experience battling some kind of virus over the weekend. He left the game early on Friday and Saturday, and did not start Sunday.

The good news as the Rays began the three-game series in Baltimore is that he is feeling more like his old self. Kiermaier was able to come in late in Sunday's game as a defensive replacement but had improved enough Monday to get the start in center field. He went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in the 6-3 loss to the Orioles.

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"I'm still feeling it, [but] I'm feeling a lot better today," Kiermaier said before Monday's game. "Friday and Saturday was awful, and yesterday before the game, same thing. Late in the game, I was good enough to go."

Kiermaier said he got plenty of fluids and tried to rest, but sleeping was definitely an issue. He is certainly hoping to be on the back end of whatever hit him.

"[That] little bug or virus or whatever I had kicked my butt," he said. "I had it all over. I had the chills and everything."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he appreciated Kiermaier going into the game Sunday even though the center fielder certainly did not feel his best.

But the skipper was not surprised Kiermaier made the offer to play despite still feeling under the weather.

"He popped out of the dugout in the seventh inning yesterday and said he's ready to go," Cash said. "That's how special of a player he is. He did everything he could all weekend to help us."

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Kiermaier