Top prospect Honeywell faces elbow surgery

Rays righty will get 2nd opinion but expects to undergo Tommy John

February 23rd, 2018

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rays top prospect has a torn ulnar collateral ligament, and Tommy John surgery has been recommended.

Honeywell threw batting practice on Thursday, but he had to leave after experiencing pain in his right forearm.

"It's a disappointment," Honeywell said. "... I knew what I had to do to make the club. Some unfortunate things happen. I'll bounce back from it. Looking forward to helping the club whenever I get back, whenever that might be."

According to MLB Pipeline, Honeywell is MLB's No. 12 prospect.

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"It's very unfortunate," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You feel for him more than anything -- not necessarily for us, even though it is a loss -- a guy we all had high hopes for and will continue to have high hopes for.

"I talked to him briefly yesterday. He's going to be fine. He's young. He'll bounce back. He'll work really hard to get back quick and follow what the doctors and trainers give him and make the most of it."

Honeywell noted that he shares a common belief among pitchers that Tommy John surgery is inevitable.

"I think people don't understand that," Honeywell said. "It's either going to go or it's not. It was one pitch. It was the first pitch to [Wilson] Ramos, and I felt it pop.

"... It's like my dad said, 'That's the nature of the beast.' We sign up to be pitchers. Bad things happen every now and then. There's a couple of things that you can prevent, but I don't think this is one of them. It's either going to go or it's not, the way I look at it."

Honeywell didn't need anybody to tell him what had transpired.

"Right when it happened, I knew what it was," he said.

Adding frustration to the situation was the way Honeywell was throwing the ball when the injury occurred.

"What I was throwing out there yesterday was some powerful stuff," Honeywell said. "And that's the most powerful I've been in seven pitches my whole career right there. That's what frustrates me the most."

Honeywell spent Thursday afternoon at the office of team orthopedic Koco Eaton, who confirmed Honeywell's suspicion. Though he recommended Tommy John surgery, he told Honeywell he should get a second opinion. Honeywell plans to get the second opinion, even though he's already made up his mind to have the surgery.

Honeywell said he's not exactly sure when that surgery will take place, but he added, "I want to get the show on the road. I don't want to be waiting around. I want to get it done. I want to be ready to go as quick as possible."

Due to the many off-days early in the season, the Rays plan to use a four-man rotation in April. Included in that rotation are Chris Archer, , Jake Faria and . They will expand to five pitchers in May, which could have been the starting point for Honeywell's Major League career. That won't happen now, but Cash said Honeywell has already made his mark within the organization.

"You can look at it a couple of different ways," Cash said. "I'm looking at it he's checked off a lot of boxes in his development in the last two years. It could be better now than earlier or even later once he got to the big leagues. He might not see it that way, but for what he's accomplished the last two years, he should get healthy and pick up where he left off [once he returns]."