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Rays release former top draft pick Brendan McKay

The left-hander got a $7 million bonus as the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft but has dealt with a series of injuries.
The Rays have released lefty Brendan McKay, the once-promising two-way prospect who commanded a $7-million-plus bonus as the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft.
The Rays have released lefty Brendan McKay, the once-promising two-way prospect who commanded a $7-million-plus bonus as the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft. [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Rays ]
Published Nov. 15|Updated Nov. 15

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have released lefty Brendan McKay, the once-promising two-way prospect who commanded a $7-million-plus bonus as the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft.

McKay, 26, has been sidelined by several arm issues and not played in the majors since making his big-league debut in 2019. Most recently, he had Tommy John surgery in September that will sideline him until 2024.

McKay had left shoulder surgery in August 2020 and missed the pandemic-abbreviated season. He made seven minor-league pitching appearances and hit in six games in 2021 before being sidelined by an August elbow injury, and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery after the season. He was rehabbing from that surgery, with the Rays deciding he would give up two-way play to concentrate on pitching, when he sustained the ligament tear this past August that led to the Tommy John procedure.

The Rays last week dropped McKay from their 40-man roster by outrighting him to Triple-A Durham when he passed through waivers unclaimed.

With only one year of control on a standard minor-league deal, the Rays released him on Monday with interest in re-signing him to a new longer-term, minor-league contract. Working that out would allow the Rays to see him through his latest surgery rehab knowing he will be in their organization when he is ready to to return to action in 2024.

In his big-league career so far, McKay is 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games as a pitcher and 2-for-10 with one home run as a hitter.

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