In the midst of a sensational season that included his first taste of the Majors, Brendan McKay was a good bet to return to Tampa at the end of Triple-A Durham's season. Chances are he still will, but he's addressing an issue first.The No. 2 Rays prospect was placed on
In the midst of a sensational season that included his first taste of the Majors, Brendan McKay was a good bet to return to Tampa at the end of Triple-A Durham's season. Chances are he still will, but he's addressing an issue first.
The No. 2 Rays prospect was placed on the seven-day injured list Monday with left-shoulder fatigue. The move was retroactive to last Friday and the club expects his time off the field to be minimal.
McKay had been in the Majors since Aug. 1 during his second stint with Tampa following his initial promotion in July. MLB.com's No. 15 overall prospect went 2-2 with a 7.16 ERA in four starts before he was optioned to Durham on Aug. 20. He felt fatigue during a bullpen two days later and was examined by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Koco Eaton on Friday, according to MLB.com. No structural damage was found.
A two-way player when he was drafted out of Louisville in 2017, McKay turned into one of the Minors' most dominating pitchers. He began the year with Double-A Montgomery before he was promoted to Triple-A on May 26. Through 14 appearances, including 12 starts, the southpaw went 6-0 with a 1.15 ERA, an 0.82 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. He held opposing hitters to a .169 average and never allowed more than five hits in any of his Minor League appearances.
"I think he has a good feel of what's going on," Bulls manager Brady Williams told MiLB.com earlier this season. "If he has a free strike, he'll throw it. If he doesn't, he won't and will attack in a different way. When hitters think they're going to get a pitch, they throw a different pitch. He just has a knack to really understand what hitters are trying to do and he attacks the opposite, which is really special in a young kid.
"He's a really calm, collected pitcher. You don't really see a lot of emotion out of him. But that doesn't mean the fire doesn't burn inside with him."
The Rays' original hope was to develop the native of Darlington, Pennsylvania, into a two-way player to maximize his potential and roster flexibility. However, the organization decided to pull McKay from the field this past offseason, limiting his opportunities as a hitter to the designated-hitter role so he could focus more on pitching.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder batted .200/.298/.331 with five homers in 145 at-bats between Montgomery and Durham and went 0-for-5 in the Majors.
McKay played catch Monday and is eligible to return from the IL on Friday.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.