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Rays’ 2-way prospect McKay to make big league debut

June 28, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays two-way prospect Brendan McKay will get two outings on a big league mound to show what he has got.

The Rays added McKay to the taxi squad in preparation for his major league debut, a pitching start Saturday against Texas.

“Without getting too far in front, he’s going to get a couple times through the rotation,” manager Kevin Cash said before Friday night’s game against the Rangers. “He’s really progressed impressively. Very determined. He’s pretty special in the way he goes about his business.”

Around 15 family members, including his parents, will be in attendance.

“I think it’s going to be a very exciting day for all of us to kind of see what’s he about on the biggest stage,” Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said.

Still to be determined is how many at-bats McKay will get.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” McKay said of his two-way role. “I’ve done it for a lot of years. For me, I love being on the field.”

Cash said the left-hander will pitch again July 5 when Tampa Bay hosts the AL East-leading New York Yankees. The skipper has not determined if McKay will start or follow an opener.

McKay, taken fourth overall in the 2017 draft, was 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five games with Triple-A Durham. He also was a designated hitter.

“I did explain to him that it’s not going to be the routine that he’s been on where he’s been DHing three or four times in a row,” Cash said. “I’d like to see him have at-bats and certainly don’t want to shut him down from hitting over the period he’s with us.”

McKay gives Tampa Bay the option of using four starting pitchers and an opener through a rotation turn.

Also Friday, the Rays reinstated closer José Alvarado from the restricted list and recalled right-hander Casey Sadler from Triple-A Durham to help a taxed bullpen.

Alvarado left the team June 2 to tend to a medical issue involving his mother in Venezuela.

Tampa Bay optioned left-hander Jalen Beeks and infielder Mike Brosseau to Durham. Minor league catcher Nick Ciuffo was designated for assignment.

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