ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP prospect Brent Honeywell won't make his first start for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs until Thursday, but he has already taken aim at a big target — Nats star and NL MVP Bryce Harper.
Honeywell took to Twitter to share his opinion of Harper sporting a cap after Monday's game that, playing off the Donald Trump slogan, read: Make Baseball Fun Again.
Honeywell's tweet: " 'Make baseball fun again' it must not be too fun being one of the youngest super stars. It must not be fun to face the best of the best."
Honeywell, 21, also took issue with Harper's recent ESPN The Magazine comments about baseball being "tired" because players can't express themselves and show flair, and even referenced his infamous "clown question" line.
Honeywell's tweet: "Baseball is not a 'tired' game either. It's been played 155 years and people still want to play it. Real 'clown move.' "
Honeywell's posts got lots of attention on the social media landscape —more than he ever expected, he told the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday night — and he further fueled that by tweeting, and deleting, "I want to face the guy.''
But Honeywell, who said he "grew up old school" and will stay that way, didn't back away from his basic point, tweeting more than a dozen more times on the subject, including a sort-of explanation why he first took issue, that "guys in MILB are workin to death to be in his shoes and he's basically complaining. Grow up."
REPLAY REDUX: There was continued discussion, and confusion, over the odd situation in Monday's game, when the umps and replay crews took more than five minutes to eventually rule that Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. caught Chris Colabello's fly ball.
Rays manager Kevin Cash reiterated that he did not challenge the original no-catch call as the umps and MLB said he did. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed he did challenge the original call of a fair ball. The umps said after the game that once the replay saw Souza did hold the ball long enough for a catch, the rest of the issue was moot.
"Odd play, odd call, everything was a little strange," Cash said. "The biggest thing is they got the call right. Unfortunately there was a little of a long delay."
RENE SIGNED UP: Former Rays C Rene Rivera has signed a minor-league deal with the Mets, agent Melvin Roman confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times.
Rivera was released last week, with the Rays paying him one-fourth of his $1.7 million salary as termination pay. He will start at Triple A but could end up in the majors as the backup.
1B James Loney, released Sunday, will clear waivers today and is free to sign with any team. The Rays are responsible for his $8 million salary minus what likely will be a deal for the major-league minimum of $507,500.
MOORE READY: LHP Matt Moore makes his first start in today's matinee, feeling good and confident after a strong spring that seemed to be a continuation of his solid September following his return from Tommy John elbow surgery: "I feel as ready for the beginning of a season as I ever have.''
MINOR MATTERS: Rosters for the Rays' four full-season minor-league teams were released, with top LHP prospect Blake Snell starting Thursday's opener for Triple-A Durham. He is joined there by INFs Daniel Robertson and Richie Shaffer, INF/OF Taylor Motter, OF Mikie Mahtook and RHP Matt Andriese. INF Ryan Brett is out with a right wrist strain.
Double-A Montgomery looks stacked, with RHPs Jake Faria and Taylor Guerrieri, INFs Willy Adames, Casey Gillaspie, Jake Hager and Kean Wong and OF Jake Bauers. Complete rosters are on the Heater blog; see tampabay.com/blogs/rays.
MISCELLANY: CF Kevin Kiermaier was still frustrated over just missing a leaping catch on Michael Saunders' two-run homer in Monday's 5-3 loss: "I know I could have caught it and I didn't, and we lose the game by two runs. So it was a tough one for me to swallow." … There was a pregame moment of silence for Lance Ringhaver, a founding member of the ownership group who was killed in a Monday car wreck. Story, 1B. … Righties Tim Beckham, Brandon Guyer and Steve Pearce are likely to start today.