Blue Jays’ Kiermaier leaves game vs. Twins with lower-back discomfort

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier left Saturday's game against the Minnesota Twins after making two long, taxing throws from the outfield.

MINNEAPOLIS – Kevin Kiermaier exited Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins with right lower-back discomfort in the third inning after making a pair of max-effort throws on defence in support of starter Chris Bassitt.

The 33-year-old Kiermaier appeared to be uncomfortable after making a throw on a Matt Wallner single in the first inning and again on an Edouard Julien double in the second. The first-inning throw was clocked at 88.9 mph and the second-inning throw reached 86.5 mph.

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Manager John Schneider said they will see how Kiermaier is feeling on Sunday after getting treatment and take it day-by-day before determining if he can get back in the lineup.

“It tightened up a little bit for him on that throw, just some lower-back discomfort,” Schneider said after the game “He wanted to stay in and hit but at this point, with how important he is to us, we wanted to be safe and make sure we didn’t make it worse.”

Cavan Biggio replaced Kiermaier as a pinch-hitter in the top of the third, later taking over at second base. Whit Merrifield shifted from second to left while Daulton Varsho moved to centre.

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Kiermaier has exceeded any reasonable expectations, providing elite centre-field defence while also hitting .319 with four home runs, five stolen bases and an .877 OPS.

In Daulton Varsho, the Blue Jays have a more-than-capable short-term solution for Kiermaier if needed. Still, losing Kiermaier for more than a day or two would be a significant setback for a team that just lost catcher Danny Jansen to the injured list.

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