The Rays will be without top pitching prospect Brendan McKay for the rest of the 2020 season, as the left-hander will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, Rays manager Kevin Cash confirmed Tuesday.
“It’s tough,” Cash said. “Anytime you cut your depth for those kinds of reasons, it’s tough. It presents an opportunity for somebody else, but we certainly know that Brendan was going to help us win games. And he will. He’ll get back to that, but it’s just not going to happen this year.”
It’s been an unusual couple of weeks for McKay. The left-hander tested positive for COVID-19 on July 6 and missed the remainder of Summer Camp. Once cleared to return, McKay tossed a couple of bullpen sessions and simulated games, but the shoulder discomfort began to creep up again for McKay.
The Rays aren’t sure exactly what the problem is for McKay -- and Cash said they’ll know more after the procedure -- but the shoulder issues have been plaguing McKay since last season.
McKay, the team’s first-round pick in 2017, made 13 appearances (11 starts) for the Rays last season and was expected to make an impact with Tampa Bay at some point during the 2020 campaign. Losing McKay -- who is hopeful to return in time for the start of Spring Training next season -- is a blow to the Rays’ starting pitching depth.
“We’re optimistic with the procedure that Brendan will have that hopefully we’ll have him for 2021 Spring Training and go from there,” Cash said. “There’s no doubt that it’s unfortunate for him, for us, because we probably would’ve been using him, but the shoulder never cooperated for him.”
McKay is the third pitcher the Rays have lost for the season, along with relievers Colin Poche and Andrew Kittredge, who both suffered torn UCLs. In McKay’s absence, pitching prospects Joe Ryan and Shane McClanahan could be options in the 60-man player pool if the Rays need starting-pitching depth moving forward.