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Rays place Kevin Kiermaier on COVID-19 related IL

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays

Sep 5, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) singles in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays placed center fielder Kevin Kiermaier on the COVID-19 related IL due to general illness symptoms and purchased the contract of right-hander Joey Krehbiel from Triple-A Durham before Saturday’s game against Detroit.

Kiermaier was pinch-hit for during the sixth inning of Friday night’s 7-4, 10-inning win over the Tigers.

“He’s been dealing with it for a couple days,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “He thought he turned for the better the day before yesterday and then yesterday just was kind of out of sorts. Pretty drained, tired and has had some symptoms, so we sent him home.”

Less than an hour before the start of Saturday’s game Tampa Bay shortstop Taylor Walls was scratched from the starting lineup due to what the team called “general illness.” No other details were immediately available.

Cash said Kiermaier tested negative while the team was in Toronto earlier in the week.

“I’m certainly hopeful that it’s not a COVID situation,” Cash said, “Today we kept him away from the ballpark and obviously be going through some testing. He has gotten tested, there has not been a result yet.”

The defensive wizard is hitting .247 with four homers and 33 RBIs in 110 games.

Tampa Bay slugger Nelson Cruz, hit on the right forearm by a pitched ball Thursday, was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game.

“He is feeling better, just kind of wanted to give him another day,” Cash said. “Feels way more available today than he did yesterday, but totally OK with him not playing. We want to make sure that he is completely right when he gets back in there.”

Cruz has 12 of his 31 homers and 33 of his 83 RBIs in 44 games since the Rays acquired him from Minnesota in late July.

Standout rookie infielder Wander Franco is scheduled to have a full workout with the team Monday and could return later in the week from a right hamstring injury.

Right-hander Chris Archer, placed on the IL Sept. 12 with left hip comfort, is seeking a second opinion.

Left-hander Shane McClanahan will be reinstated from the 10-day IL to start Sunday against the Tigers. He missed one start due to lower back tightness.