Kiermaier told reporters it felt like he had sand in his eye:
"A couple minutes in, I was like, dang it, I got an eyelash in my eye. There was an eyelash in there and then we rinsed my eye, and then it disappeared or kind of went into one of these crevices or whatever. Once that happened, everything took a turn for the worse."
"I don't know how or if we scratched, that's definitely what it feels like. I keep telling people it just feels like a piece of sand on the inside of my eyelid. Every time I blink, just pressure, irritation, a scratching feeling."
Injuries have been a fairly common occurrence for the three-time Gold Glove winner. Upon becoming an MLB regular in 2014, he made 150-plus appearances once through his first six years. He then missed 11 games in the shortened 2020 campaign.
Most recently, Kiermaier sprained his left wrist in the Rays' 6-3 defeat to the Oakland Athletics on May 8. He was sliding into second base on an attempted steal when his left arm came to an abrupt stop on the knee of A's third baseman Matt Chapman.
By and large, Kiermaier has been a below-average hitter in MLB. He has a .309 career weighted on-base average and a 96 weighted runs created plus, per FanGraphs.
Tampa Bay will miss the 31-year-old's presence in center, though, because he remains one of baseball's best defensive outfielders. Going to Brett Phillips, who replaced Kiermaier after the sprained wrist, represents a clear downgrade in that regard.