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Smith's slick snag robs Mauer of home run

Tolleson throws successful 'pen; Archer due to return to Rays camp
March 13, 2017

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mallex Smith cued up his highlight reel on Monday.The speedy Rays outfielder scored on a sac fly after leading off the game with a bunt single then trumped that by robbing Joe Mauer of a home run.Smith, who played center field in Monday's 9-4 loss to

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mallex Smith cued up his highlight reel on Monday.
The speedy Rays outfielder scored on a sac fly after leading off the game with a bunt single then trumped that by robbing Joe Mauer of a home run.
Smith, who played center field in Monday's 9-4 loss to Minnesota, gave chase when Mauer appeared to go deep with two outs in the first. At the last instant, Smith jumped, his glove reached over the wall, and he pulled back the drive for the third out of the inning.
"You've got Joe Mauer up to bat, he's a great hitter with power," Smith said. "So I scooted back a little. Beforehand, I checked to see where the wall was. And when he hit it, I kept my eye on it, tracked it down to the wall. Felt it. And then when it got close, I jumped up and caught it."
Expect to see more of Smith going forward.
Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear
"We definitely need to get him out there," Cash said. "And you'll see over the next couple of days and week of games, he's going to get a lot of at-bats."
Earlier in camp Smith had trouble with a sore oblique.

Tolleson throws bullpen
Shawn Tolleson (back spasms) threw a bullpen on Sunday, and Cash liked what he heard about the outing.
"[Pitching coach Jim Hickey] was very happy with the way [he threw]," Cash said. "He said that was probably the best he's seen him look since he's been in camp with us. So that's intriguing. Now we'll take the next step, whether it's live BP or in games."
The Rays signed the right-handed reliever to a one-year, $1 million contract in January. He served as the Rangers' closer in 2015 and into '16. If he hits his incentives, Tolleson can earn an additional $1.15 million this season.
Archer due in camp
Chris Archer was expected back in camp on Monday after starting for Team USA against Colombia on Friday night.
"He's on his way back today," Cash said. "Threw his bullpen yesterday."
Archer will throw in a Minor League game on Thursday, and could return to Team USA if the day he would pitch falls on the day he would have been scheduled to pitch for the Rays. The next day that Archer's schedule would line up with Team USA's would be March 22, which is when the championship game is scheduled.

"I'm thrilled [to have him back]," Cash said. "I couldn't be happier with him or more proud of the way he handled himself in the game. And then, what turned out being a pretty difficult decision for him to make. Just really proud of the way Chris handled the whole situation."
Archer threw 41 pitches in four innings but did not return to pitch the fifth, telling Team USA manager Jim Leyland that he was to throw either four innings or 65 pitches.
Injury updates
• Brad Boxberger (lat) threw a bullpen Monday. Cash called that a "good sign."
"I know in his mind, I think that he feels like he can ramp it up quick enough--with no further setbacks, and potentially be ready [for the start of the season]."
• Cash told reporters Colby Rasmus' status remains unknown.
"I talked to Colby yesterday," Cash said. "He's definitely doing better. He was out yesterday during batting practice. He took a ton of balls in the outfield. Took batting practice. But not yet ready to say when he'll get into a game."
Timothy Beckham appears to be earmarked to be the team's Opening Day shortstop given Matt Duffy's slower-than-expected recovery from left heel surgery. Still, Cash wants Beckham to continue with his work geared toward learning to play the outfield.

"The plan is for him to play shortstop, obviously," Cash said. "I think we'll have him play right field [Wednesday] against the Red Sox right before the off-day. Then back to short. Beck understands, and I'm trying to clarify to him that, yeah, there's a good chance he'll play a lot of shortstop early on in the season. But we have to keep that avenue of him going into the outfield open for us. Whenever Duff comes back or starts with us."

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