TODAY: After just one day, Smith has been reinstated from the IL and Robertson has been optioned back to the Rays’ minor league training site. Manager Kevin Cash told the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin and other media members that Smith’s second COVID-19 test came back negative, and thus the catcher was cleared to take the field.
AUGUST 1: The Tampa Bay Rays have recalled infielder Daniel Robertson just a couple days after sending him to their alternate training site. Catcher Kevan Smith was placed on the injured list, per the team.
Smith, 32, has been suffering from cold symptoms, prompting some coronavirus concern, though he’s tested negative, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Given his symptoms, he will need a second negative test before being cleared to return to the team. Smith has served as a defensive replacement early this season, catching 5 innings over the course of three appearances with just a lone plate appearance.
Mike Zunino and Michael Perez are the other catchers currently on the Rays active roster. Ronaldo Hernandez, Rene Pinto, and Brett Sullivan are the other backstops in Tampa’s 60 player pool. Assuming the veteran receiver gets his second negative test and returns to normal health, Smith shouldn’t be away from the team for long.
Robertson has not yet made an appearance this season, though he’s been a steady utility presence for the Rays the past three seasons. The 26-year-old right-hander splits his time evenly between second, third, and short with occasional emergency spells in the outfield. His usefulness to the Rays is in his utility. Inconsistent results at the plate have kept him from a regular role. An 11.6 BB% suggests a sound approach at the plate, though his career strikeouts rate (25.2%) is a little higher than would be ideal. The bigger issue with Robertston would appear to be a shortage of pop (career .122 ISO).
In other Tampa news, highly-touted two-way player Brendan McKay has returned to the club’s alternate training site after previously testing positive for COVID-19, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. He will need multiple weeks to get ready.