Tampa Bay Rays: Brendan McKay’s bad luck with injuries continues

Mar 12, 2020; Port Charlotte, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Brendan McKay (49) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2020; Port Charlotte, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Brendan McKay (49) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /
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There was a time when Brendan McKay appeared as though he would be a key part of the Tampa Bay Rays‘ future. Now, it is fair to wonder if he will be able to return to the majors.

McKay had been on a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Durham Bulls when disaster struck again. He lasted just one pitch in the outing before departing, with an MRI showing damage to the UCL in his left elbow.

UCL injury adds to Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brendan McKay’s history

At this point, it is unknown whether or not McKay will need surgery. He is seeking a second opinion and will make a determination from there.

At this point, it has been three years since McKay threw a major league pitch. While his 5.14 ERA and 1.408 WHiP over his 49 innings may not jump out, he did strike out 56 batters with just 16 walks. McKay also had a 4.03 FIP, a promising number for a 23 year old.

Injuries have stalled his career since. Shoulder woes that necessitated surgery ended his 2020 campaign before it began. He started his rehab from that procedure in June 2021 only to be shut down for thoracic outlet syndrome. He had been working his way back from that procedure when he suffered his most recent injury, one that could sideline him for the entire 2023 campaign as well.

Now 26 years old, he has made just 14 total appearances in the past three years due to these injuries. If he does need Tommy John surgery, he would be 28 years old before he returns to the mound, nearly five years removed from his last major league offering.

It is fair to wonder if he will ever get back to Tampa Bay. While it is purely speculative as to whether or not he will have Tommy John surgery, there is not exactly a track record of success for thoracic outlet syndrome. Add in his previous shoulder woes, and McKay is a giant question mark moving forward. He is also not someone the Rays can look at as a building block any longer.

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Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brendan McKay is injured once again. It is now fair to wonder if he will ever return to the majors.