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Hamstring better, Mallex on target for opener

Rays speedster feels good while playing in game for first time since March 8
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Mallex Smith felt good on Tuesday, and the speedy outfielder appears to be all systems go for Opening Day.

Smith, who has been nursing a right hamstring issue, played in a game on Tuesday for the first time since March 8 when he took to the back fields of the Charlotte Sports Complex to participate in a Minor League contest against a Twins affiliate.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Mallex Smith felt good on Tuesday, and the speedy outfielder appears to be all systems go for Opening Day.

Smith, who has been nursing a right hamstring issue, played in a game on Tuesday for the first time since March 8 when he took to the back fields of the Charlotte Sports Complex to participate in a Minor League contest against a Twins affiliate.

"Mallex played today," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Everything came out flying colors. Looked really good. ... Looked really active in the Minor League game."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Smith went 1-for-5 with a single, a stolen base and a run scored.

"Ran perfectly fine," Smith said. "No issues running. No hesitation. Stole a base. No second thought on any of my movements. So that was relieving. Felt good."

Smith said that it's "natural to be hesitant" when returning from an injury.

"I'm thankful that they allowed me to take the time to get healthy and get back out there and move with comfort," Smith said.

When asked about when he would next play, Smith said: "I hope I'm in there tomorrow. We'll see how they want to use me. ... I plan on being in there tomorrow if I'm allowed."

Cash ruled otherwise. Smith will be off on Wednesday, and then he'll play Thursday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Eovaldi moved to Wednesday
Nathan Eovaldi was scheduled to start for the Rays against the Orioles in Sarasota on Tuesday, but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Eovaldi will now start Wednesday in a Minor League game at the Charlotte Sports Complex.

Video: TB@PHI: Eovaldi gets Santana to go down swinging

"This was no big deal at all," Cash said. "... He will throw on the back fields tomorrow, get his full work in. [Pitching coach] Kyle [Snyder] was totally comfortable with that. We made that decision around 9 o'clock this morning. Nate was good with this, no concern whatsoever."

Eovaldi is penciled in to start the Rays' fourth game of the season against the Red Sox on April 1 at Tropicana Field. Being pushed back will not affect that.

Archer on Friday
Chris Archer will make his final start of the spring on Friday, but it won't be in a Grapefruit League game. He'll pitch on a back field at the Charlotte Sports Complex with Wilson Ramos catching him.

Archer, who is slated to be the Rays' Opening Day starter, will either throw seven innings or 105 pitches, whichever comes first.

Video: DET@TB: Archer fans Machado in the 4th inning

Up next
The Rays will host the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at Charlotte Sports Park. Ryan Yarbrough will start for the Rays. Yonny Chirinos, Jose Alvarado, Daniel Hudson, Jonny Venters and Sergio Romo are also expected to pitch. Marcus Walden will start for the Red Sox. The game can be seen live on MLB.TV or listened to via an exclusive webcast.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Mallex Smith