Cash Says Smith "Cutting It Close" To Opening Day

PORT CHARLOTTE (620 WDAE) -- Outfielder Mallex Smith hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game, or any other spring game, since March 8 after tweaking his hamstring, but he feels he's close to finally returning.

"It's coming along," Smith told me Sunday morning.  "I should be back soon."

For manager Kevin Cash, the sooner the better, because the outfielder is running the risk of not being ready to begin the regular season.

"I think we're still OK for that," Cash said, "but we're going to start cutting it close, being that speed is such a part of his game."

Smith was scheduled to take batting practice and work out with the big-league club today, and will do the same on the minor-league side Monday (with the Rays playing a night game in Tampa) while hopefully playing in a minor-league game Tuesday.

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