ST. PETERSBURG — OF Mallex Smith has been hospitalized due to a viral infection and placed on the 10-day disabled list, the Rays said after Friday's game.
Smith was admitted to an area hospital and was receiving antibiotics via IV, the team said, but was not expected to stay long. His condition is not considered anything like the life-threatening bacterial infection that led to Cleveland OF Leonys Martin being hospitalized earlier this month and sidelined for the rest of the season.
"I don't get the sense it's serious,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Smith. "The kid's in the hospital, so that's concerning enough. I don't know much other than that.''
Smith has been one of the Rays' hottest hitters, so it was a surprise when he was not in the lineup for the game against the Red Sox. Cash said that Smith had woken about 3 a.m. feeling ill but said little else about his condition.
The Rays initially are expected to call up a pitcher to take Smith's place on the active roster, adding an extra arm to the bullpen. If they decide later to call up an outfielder, as the team has two days off next week, prospect Austin Meadows, acquired from the Pirates in the Chris Archer trade, would be an option.
Smith, 25, has been playing at the highest level of his career, hitting .307, seventh in the AL, with multiple hits in seven of his past eight games, and hitting .385 since moving to the leadoff spot Aug. 5. The Tallahassee native shares the AL lead with nine triples and is fourth with 27 stolen bases.
Smith was looking forward to going back to Atlanta next week and playing against his former teammates.
LF Brandon Lowe has started slowly since coming up from Triple-A Durham earlier this month, but he made a big impact Friday. Two days after recording his second multihit game, he scored in his first plate appearance and singled in a run in his second. He also had a highlight-reel catch in the fourth.
Rays OF Tommy Pham continues to progress after dislocating his finger Tuesday. He hit off the machine Friday and was available off the bench. "He's going to feel it for a while," Cash said. "It's okay to feel it, but we don't want him changing his bat path or the mechanics of his swing."
Highly touted two-way prospect Brendan McKay is scheduled to pitch Saturday in Clearwater for the Class-A Stone Crabs. Since coming off the disabled list last month, McKay has allowed four earned runs in five starts (17⅓ innings). The No. 4 overall pick of the 2017 draft is also batting .217 with four home runs since his return. … The Rays promoted their top two 2018 draft picks from the Gulf Coast League to Princeton. LHP Matthew Liberatore allowed only three earned runs in eight starts (27⅔ innings) and posted 32 strikeouts. LHP Shane McClanahan — a USF product — gave up only one hit and no runs in his two starts (three innings).
Numbers of the day
2.07 ERA by Rays in their past 13 games (entering Friday), the best mark in the majors.
1 Uniformed personnel with the Rays the previous time they had a four-game sweep (which they completed Thursday against the Royals): bullpen coach Stan Boroski.
5-11 Record for Rays against Red Sox (entering Friday).
62-50 Record for Rays against every other team.
Members of the Rays' RBI Junior baseball team are set to visit Saturday and shag balls during batting practice. Earlier this month, the youth team won its division in the program, which focuses on boosting the sport in inner cities.
Times staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report.