Rays left-hander Brendan McKay suffered an injury to the UCL in his throwing elbow, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). McKay, who suffered the injury on the first pitch of yesterday’s appearance with Triple-A Durham, will go for a second opinion. Topkin notes that the team isn’t yet sure whether he’ll require surgery.
Whether or not McKay goes under the knife, one has to feel awful for the 26-year-old. A former #4 overall pick and top prospect, McKay progressed up the minor league ladder rather quickly and reached the majors in 2019. He tossed 49 innings over 13 appearances (including 11 starts), only managing a 5.14 ERA but posting an above-average 25.9% strikeout rate. In spite of some home run troubles, the former Louisville two-way star looked like a potential rotation building block for Tampa Bay.
In the three years since then, McKay hasn’t thrown a single major league pitch. That’s on account of an almost unfathomable stretch of poor injury luck. He missed the shortened 2020 season on account of a shoulder problem that eventually required surgery. The rehab from that procedure kept him out of action until late June 2021. Just a few outings into a minor league rehab stint, McKay suffered a flexor strain in his forearm that again proved to be season-ending. He was then diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and underwent surgery to correct that issue last November.
McKay had been on the injured list for all of 2022 as he recovered from the TOS procedure. He set out on a rehab assignment in mid-July and spent his allotted 30-day window pitching back to Triple-A. The Rays just formally reinstated McKay from the IL on Tuesday but kept him in Durham on an optional assignment. How the club proceeds from here will be determined by the results of the upcoming evaluation, but the revelation of ligament damage certainly means another trip to the IL and would appear likely to end his 2022 season.