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McKay visits Trop, prepares for Minors season

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- No. 4 overall Draft pick Brendan McKay took his first steps on the turf at Tropicana Field Friday. Pretty soon, he'll take his first Minor League swings, too, as he prepares to head to Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley.

McKay will join the Renegades in mid-July and continue to juggle pitching and playing first base. The Rays sat down with the University of Louisville standout recently to outline his schedule.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- No. 4 overall Draft pick Brendan McKay took his first steps on the turf at Tropicana Field Friday. Pretty soon, he'll take his first Minor League swings, too, as he prepares to head to Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley.

McKay will join the Renegades in mid-July and continue to juggle pitching and playing first base. The Rays sat down with the University of Louisville standout recently to outline his schedule.

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The prospect said he expects to play either first base or serve as the designated hitter five or six days a week, and make one start on the mound, he said. On his day off, he'll throw a bullpen session.

And while he will start games, McKay will likely have an innings workload closer to that of a reliever.

"To start out, one or two innings. Just to build up some stamina and then work from there to extend it a little bit," McKay said. "I think the plan is to work up to a total of 140 innings right now. I'm at 109, I think, after the college season, so anywhere from 25 to 30 innings I would expect."

McKay struck out 146 hitters with Louisville this season, and finished with a 2.56 ERA and 11-3 record. He hit .341 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs and won the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year award for the third consecutive season, and also picked up the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Awards as college baseball's top player.

Video: Draft 2017: Rays draft 1B Brendan McKay No. 4

Louisville lost both its games in the double-elimination semifinal round of the College World Series in June. After a short break spent hanging around Gulf Coast League games, McKay said he is ready to get back into action.

"I haven't gotten into any of the games in the GCL, but just being there, watching games and getting that feel, you get excited," McKay said. "You want to play a little bit."

Miller returns, Beckham to DL
Brad Miller returned to the lineup Friday for the first time since June 6. Miller had played three games after recovering from a left abdominal strain suffered in mid-May when he went down with a groin strain.

To make room for Miller, Tim Beckham will go to the 10-day disabled list with a left ankle sprain. Manager Kevin Cash said the transaction is "bittersweet."

"Obviously we're excited to have Brad back, but it came at the expense of Tim Beckham going on the DL," Cash said. "Beck's played so well for us, played through a lot of pain and was still producing. But [we] felt like given the All-Star break, this probably makes the most sense to give him some time off and see if we can kind of get that ankle to calm down."

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Tampa Bay Rays