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Tampa Bays Kevin Kiermaier Returns to Tr

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    December 4, 2022 6:54 AM EST

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Long-time Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was back at Tropicana Field for the first time since hip surgery two weeks ago. Unsure of what comes next in his career, he said he's focused first on getting healthy again, something that's been an i sue the past two seasons."I'm driven, I'm motivated, this is like, for me, chasing something again," "I'm going to do everything in my power to try to look like the player I was a couple years ago, and hopefully a team, several teams will be wanting me. That's what I plan, and I'm very excited."The 32-year-old Kiermaier, a Fort Wayne, Ind., native, has Andrew Miller Jersey been with the Rays since making his debut during the 2013 postseason. He's been a fixture in center field, winning three Gold Gloves. But he's also been hurt a lot, and playing every day on the hard artificial surface at Tropicana Field might have something to do with that.Kiermaier signed a six-year in 2017 that expires this year. He played his last game on July 9 and had surgery in Nashville on Aug. 3.The Rays have a $13 million option for next year, but it's unlikely that they use it. Conversations are sure to be had between the two sides, but not any time soon, which is fine with Kiermaier. If the Rays decline the option Keith Hernandez Jersey , Kiermaier is owed a $2.5 million buyout.His focus is on getting well."My labrum was in terrible shape, looked awful" Kiermaier said. "(The doctor) showed me pictures on before and after, and it was incredible I played as long as what I did."Scroll to ContinueKiermaier said he already feels better and called the procedure "a complete win." He's dealt with a lot of pain in each of the past two seasons, and has had several cortisone shots to help him get through it.Having the surgery should allow him to get back to normal. He's excited about being back on the field in 2023, but he freely admits he doesn't know where that's going to be.He's loved his time in Tampa Bay, without question."Throughout this month that I've been down, I've reflected a lot on a lot of things," Kiermaier said. "I have a lot of memories here, I'm going to try and not tear up, but I've learned that the things that can make me tear and cry pretty easily are my kids and the Tampa Bay Rays."For me, there's no better feeling than running out on Tropicana Field from the dugout to start a game. That will forever be the thing that I think of. It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward."Playing on gra s would certainly be an option he would enjoy. He said that will factor into his decision as well. But the pull of staying Lance Lynn Jersey home with the Rays will mean a lot, too."Part of me is like, would I benefit from playing on gra s everyday, maybe," Kiermaier said. "But I've gotten so accustomed to everything here. There's so many pros and cons, way more pros, but the turf that's definitely a big i sue."Related stories on Rays baseballTOM BREW COLUMN (Aug. 6):Tampa Bay outfielder Kevin Kiermaier had his hip surgery in Nashville on Wednesday and is back home, ready to attack his rehab. He vows to be back in 2023 ''better than ever,'' but it's the Rays who hold the option on his big $13 million contract next year. Kiermaier says he'll be back, but will the Rays say yes?GAMEDAY PREVIEW (Saturday): If the Tampa Bay Rays want to win the season series Mike Shannon Jersey against the Baltimore Orioles, they need to win on Saturday and Sunday at Tropicana Field. They'll do battle with their AL rivals on Saturday with Shane McClanahan on the mound. Here's our gameday preview, with video from Shane, TV information and the day's starting lineups.HAPPY HOMECOMING FOR BRETT PHILLIPS (Friday): Popular former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brett Phillips was back at Tropicana Field on Friday, but this time as a part of the Baltimore Orioles. He cherished his time with his hometown Rays, but he's also very excited now to be a part of the up-and-coming Orioles franchise. ORIOLES WIN SERIES OPENER (Friday): Tampa Bay pitching gave up 10 runs and 19 hits to the red-hot Ramon Urias Jersey Baltimore Orioles on Friday night, losing 10-3 and falling out of the final American League playoff spot after the first game of an important three-game series. The Orioles are now a half-game ahead of them. RAYS SCHEDULE: Here is the complete 2022 Tampa Bay Rays schedule, with results and stats so far, and dates and game times for the remaining games in the final two months of the season.