AUG. 20: McKay underwent surgery to repair a labrum issue, tweets Topkin, who adds it’s “doubtful” he’ll be ready for the start of next spring.
AUG. 18: Rays southpaw Brendan McKay will undergo left shoulder surgery on Wednesday and miss the rest of the 2020 season, the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reports (via Twitter). A clear recovery timeline isn’t yet known, though the Rays hope McKay can be ready for the start of Spring Training.
McKay was shut down last week, after already being set back this season by a positive COVID-19 test that sidelined him for virtually all of the Rays’ Summer Camp. It amounts to a lost year for the fourth overall pick of the 2017 draft, and potentially a very costly one development-wise given McKay’s rather unique status as a two-way player.
The Rays planned to only use McKay as a pitcher this season, though he was an accomplished hitter at the University Of Louisville and showed some promise (.239/.346/.493) during 78 plate appearances at the Triple-A level in 2019. McKay also already has a big league home run on his resume, as part of an 11-PA cameo with the Rays last season.
It remains to be seen if this shoulder surgery will change the equation on whether or not “Two-Way McKay” will continue to explore both pitching and hitting. A very impressive 1.78 ERA, 6.11 K/BB rate, and 11.8 K/9 over 172 minor league innings would seem to hint that McKay’s ultimate future could be on the mound, though there isn’t any harm in continuing to explore McKay’s potential at the plate.
On the mound last season, McKay tossed 49 innings and posted a 5.14 ERA, a number somewhat inflated by a 1.5 HR/9, as his other peripherals (3.50 K/BB rate, 10.3 K/9) were solid. The Rays even included McKay on their postseason roster, and he delivered 1 1/3 scoreless innings over three appearances against the Astros in last year’s AL Division Series.