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.
NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.
The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.
“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.
Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.
Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.
“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”
Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.
The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.
The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.
Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.