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Rays’ Brendan McKay to have season-ending shoulder surgery

The lefty had not pitched this year after missing time due to COVID-19 and is expected to be ready next spring.
Brendan McKay is set to have season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday.
Brendan McKay is set to have season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday. [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Rays ]
Published Aug. 18, 2020
Updated Aug. 18, 2020

Brendan McKay’s season is over before it started, as the Rays left-hander is set to undergo surgery Wednesday on his sore left shoulder.

The Rays did not reveal details of the area to be repaired, but said McKay could be ready to pitch as soon as mid-February. The downside, obviously, is that they could use him pitching for them now, especially given the other pitcher injuries they dealing with.

“Obviously (there’s) frustration,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said via Zoom video call from New York. “We’re optimistic with the procedure that Brendan will have that hopefully we’ll have him for 2021 spring training and go from there. There’s no doubt it’s unfortunate for him, for us, because we probably would have already been using him. ... I don’t know if (the injury has) been specified yet; we’ll probably know more information once the procedure takes place.”

McKay, 24, missed several weeks of spring 2.0 training camp after testing positive for COVID-19 and was working his way back into form at the Port Charlotte camp when he complained of shoulder tightness after throwing batting practice Aug. 5 and was shut down. He had a similar issue in August last season, and also during the first spring training, and was headed to open the season at Triple-A.

“The shoulder never cooperated for him,” Cash said. “We certainly know 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.”

McKay, the Rays top pick in the 2017 draft, also can DH and play first base as a two-way player, but the Rays planned to limit him to pitching in this abbreviated season. He made his big-league debut last June, going 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games (11 starts).

McKay will be third pitcher the Rays have lost for the season, following Colin Poche (Tommy John surgery) and Andrew Kittredge (torn elbow ligament).