Rule 5 pick Sam McWilliams returned to Rays

Acquired by Tampa Bay in Souza trade, McWilliams was the second pick in the Rule 5 draft.
Former Rays pitcher Sam McWilliams was suited up and tabbed to play in the Royals organization this season after Kansas City plucked him from Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft. After McWilliams had a rough spring, the Royals literally gave him back to the Rays. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel]
Former Rays pitcher Sam McWilliams was suited up and tabbed to play in the Royals organization this season after Kansas City plucked him from Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft. After McWilliams had a rough spring, the Royals literally gave him back to the Rays. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel]
Published March 24

NORTH PORT — Minor-league right-hander Sam McWilliams, who the Royals selected with the second pick in December’s Rule 5 pick, has been returned to the Rays.

McWilliams, acquired by Tampa Bay last May as the players to be named later in the Steven Souza, Jr. trade with the Diamondbacks, had a rough spring training with Kansas City, posting a 15.43 ERA and 3.000 WHIP in 4 2/3 innings.

The 23-year-old reached the Double-A level last season, but owned a 5.02 ERA in 19 games (15 starts) with Montgomery. On the season, he averaged nearly a strikeout per inning (8.7) but also issued 3.2 walks per nine innings.

The Rays chose not to place him on the organizational 40-man roster, and he was taken by Kansas City after the Orioles selected Bloomingdale High product Richie Martin, who will likely make their roster, with the top pick.

Under Rule 5 regulations, all Rule 5 picks must remain with the big league team for the entire season, including at least 90 days on the active 25-man roster.

McWilliams had to clear waivers — any selecting team would have had to keep him under the same protocol — before being returned to the Rays.

He will report to minor league camp.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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