Highly regarded pitching prospect Brendan McKay and first baseman Nate Lowe were among seven Tampa Bay Rays players optioned to the minor leagues on Thursday.
The Rays also optioned pitchers Trevor Richards and Anthony Banda, infielder Michael Brosseau and outfielders Randy Arozarena and Brian O'Grady. Tampa Bay's 40-man roster currently stands at 28 active players following the moves.
McKay, listed as the No. 15 overall prospect by MLB.com for the 2020 season, made 11 starts for Tampa Bay in 2019 and went 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 overall appearances for the Rays last season.
The No. 4 overall pick of the 2017 MLB draft also saw time as a designated hitter and had five home runs in 67 at-bats for Triple-A Durham in 2019.
Lowe hit .263 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 50 games with Tampa Bay last season and added 16 home runs in 93 games with Durham. Brosseau split time between the minors and majors in 2019, batting .273 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 51 games with the Rays and recording a .304 average with 16 homers and 60 RBIs in 73 games with Durham.
Richards started 20 games for Miami last season before coming to the Rays in a July 31 trade. The 26-year-old went 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in seven appearances, including three starts, following the trade.
Banda spent most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery performed in June 2018 and allowed three runs in four innings following a September call-up.
Arozarena, acquired from the Cardinals in January as part of the trade that also sent veteran first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez to Tampa Bay, batted .344 between St. Louis' Double and Triple-A affiliates in 2019.
O'Grady tied for fifth in the International League with 28 home runs while playing for Cincinnati's Triple-A team in Louisville last season. The 27-year-old was acquired from the Reds in November.