Rays to mix and match while Kiermaier is out

Center fielder broke two bones in his left hand

Rays to mix and match while Kiermaier is out

DETROIT -- Life must go on for the Rays without arguably the best defensive player in baseball, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.

The Platinum and Gold Glove winner suffered two metacarpal fractures in his left hand on Saturday while diving for a ball in the Rays' 5-4 loss to the Tigers. Now the Rays must find the best outfield combinations to compensate for his loss.

"We've called Mikie Mahtook up," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's going to come in, he's going to play. We've got 18 straight ballgames now without an off-day. We're going to have to factor keeping guys fresh, getting them off their feet and kind of cycling through."

With Kiermaier injured, Rays recall Mahtook

The Rays have a flexible group of outfielders that includes Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza Jr., Desmond Jennings, Corey Dickerson and Mahtook. Taylor Motter can play outfield as well.

"We'll mix and match," Cash said. "The thought is to have [Jennings] play some center, Mikie play some center. ... The good thing about our outfielders, they're all versatile to play anywhere in the outfield. Souza can play center or right. So that's a nice luxury to have."

In Kiermaier's absence, the group is up for the task.

"It's tough," Guyer said. "Any time you lose arguably the best defensive player in the game, it's tough. ... We have a lot of guys who can cover a lot of ground. Not like K.K., but we have a lot of guys who can play really good defense.

"You can't really make up for a guy like that. But we have some talented guys out there. I think we'll do pretty good. ... He's the best in the game. It's going to be a challenge."

Cash shed light on who will be in the lineup when he said, "We have to play the guys who are producing for us. And that's the bottom line. We've got four or five really good options."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.