Rays outfielder Mallex Smith has been hospitalized with a viral infection, the team announced Friday night. While the precise nature of the infection has not been reported, manager Kevin Cash told reporters that he doesn’t believe it’s indicative of anything serious — that is, anything severe enough to be deemed life-threatening or season-ending.
Still, the fact that Smith landed in the hospital at all is cause for some alarm, and the Rays swiftly reassigned him to the 10-day disabled list for a still-to-be-determined recovery period. The 25-year-old outfielder is in the middle of his best season to date after slashing .307/.377/.433 at the plate with 27 stolen bases and 3.1 fWAR through 426 plate appearances. This figures to be his first stint on the DL all year.
A corresponding move won’t be announced until Saturday, though Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times speculates that either right-handed reliever Andrew Kittredge or outfield prospect Austin Meadows could get the nod in Smith’s place. Kittredge, 28, posted an impressive 2.74 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through 46 innings in Triple-A Durham this season. Meadows, meanwhile, is chugging along with a .316/.369/.671 batting line and six home runs since he came over from the Pirates at the trade deadline.