ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – Two-way prospect for Tampa Bay Rays Brendan McKay will play two games on a big league hill to show off what he has.
The Rays have added McKay, ranked 14th in the preseason by ESPN insider Keith Law List of top 100 prospects for the taxi squad in preparation for its major league debut, a pitching start on Saturday against Texas.
"Without going too far forward, he will come through the rotation a couple of times," said manager Kevin Cash said before the game on Friday night against the Rangers. "He's made really impressive progress, very determined, he's pretty special in the way he conducts his business."
"I think it's going to be a very exciting day where we can all see what he's up to on the biggest stage," said Ray's center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
It remains to be determined how many At-Bats McKay will receive.
1 19659008] "I'm very proud of it," McKay said about his two-way role. "I've done it for many years and it's a pleasure for me to be on the pitch."
Cash said the left-hander will pitch again on July 5 when Tampa Bay hosts the American League East-leading New York Yankees. The skipper has not decided if McKay will start or follow after a prelude.
McKay, who finished fourth in the 2017 Draft, scored 3-0 at 1.08 ERA in five games with Triple-A Durham. Prior to his promotion to Durham he won 3-0 with 1.30 ERA and scored 62 goals in 41⅔ innings with Double-A Montgomery.
He also worked as a designated hitter. He began his pro career playing pitching as well as First Base, but the Rays took off his gloves this year to simplify his focus.
After McKay fought his plate in Double-A, he hit .265 /.400/.551 with four home runs on Triple-A.
"I explained to him that it would not be the routine he was on three or four times in a row," said Cash. "I want him to have bats and I do not want to keep him from hitting while he's with us."
McKay gives Tampa Bay the opportunity to use four starting pitchers and an opener through a rotation turn.
Also on Friday, the Rays restored Jose Alvarado from the blacklist and recalled right-handed Casey Sadler of Triple-A Durham to help a taxed bullpen.
Alvarado left the team on June 2 to attend A medical problem involving his mother in Venezuela.
Tampa Bay left the left-hander Jalen Beeks and infielder Mike Brosseau to Durham. Small league catcher Nick Ciuffo was determined for the use.
This report uses information from The Associated Press.