BOSTON — Top Rays pitching prospect Brent Honeywell is out for the remainder of the season after fracturing a bone in his elbow throwing a pitch during a bullpen session in Port Charlotte on Saturday.
The right-hander was working his way back after dealing with a series of setbacks in his rehab from February 2018 Tommy John surgery, most recently a nerve issue.
Honeywell will have surgery Monday, at which time Dr. James Andrews also will check on the integrity of the Tommy John repair. The Rays will have a more specific timetable then on if or how the 2020 season will be impacted.
The Rays said Honeywell suffered a fracture of the right medial epicondyle, which is a bone on the inside of the elbow connected to the ulnar collateral ligament that is repaired during TJ surgery. Oakland pitcher Jarrod Parker is among those who had the injury, and he was forced to retire at age 29 after fracturing it twice.
Honeywell has been considered one of the top pitching prospects in the game. The TJ surgery cost him the 2018 season, and he was initially targeting a mid-2019 debut, which now is obviously further delayed.
Poche takes a walk to arrive in time
Lefty reliever Colin Poche, who made a solid major-league debut after a somewhat surprising callup between Saturday’s games, made a crafty move to make sure he got from the team hotel to Fenway Park in time. Idled in an Uber ride in post-opening game traffic, Poche hopped out and walked nearly a mile. “I was like, ;I can’t be late on my first day,’ ” he said. “Started walking through all these Red Sox fans … with my big Rays bag on my shoulder. Got a couple weird looks but nobody said anything.’’
Poche, acquired May 1, 2018, from Arizona in the Steven Souza Jr. trade, had a sensational 2018 season in the minors (6-0, 0.82, 110 strikeouts in 66 innings) but struggled in spring training and early in the season with Triple-A Durham. But he turned it around the past few weeks and was rewarded with the callup, which included traveling Friday to Boston and laying low until the move was made official.
He debuted in the second inning, allowing two hits (and two runs when Austin Pruitt gave up a double) but throwing 20 of his first 21 pitches for strikes, and 21 of 24 overall.
Roster maneuvers: Wendle, Perez, Pruitt
Infielder Joey Wendle (broken right wrist) and catcher Michael Perez (oblique) moved their rehab to Triple-A Durham, which was rained out Saturday. Wendle was to play shortstop, manager Kevin Cash saying “when he gets back … we definitely want to have that option.’’ … Pruitt was called up as the 26th man for the doubleheader, worked in relief in the nightcap, and was headed back to Durham. …. Casey Sadler was optioned to Durham to make room for Poche, who took the open spot on the 40-man roster. … Lefty Jose Alvarado’s seven days on the family medical emergency list ended Saturday. He is likely to be transferred to the restricted list with the expectation he will rejoin the team early this week. … Jose De Leon’s original 30-day rehab assignment ended last week, but he was given the first of three potential 10-day extensions for pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery. He’s 0-0, 3.72 in seven minor-league outings.
Chirinos impressed, but not enough
Righty Yonny Chirinos was dazzling again Friday in throwing eight shutout innings, retiring the first 15 hitters for the second time in his past three outings, improving his record to 7-2, 2.87 overall and 4-2, 2.27 in seven starts. But that is still not enough to earn him a promotion to full-time starter, not even just temporarily until Tyler Glasnow returns in July. “We’re still going to make the decision (what’s) best to help us win that game, win that series,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “And if we feel it’s best to use an opener, we’ll continue to do that.’’
Snell looking to mix things up more
Blake Snell is over the frustration from his Tuesday’s outing, allowing six runs on seven hits in Detroit, and takes the mound Sunday looking to make better use of all four top-shelf pitches in his repertoire. “I’ve really got to mix it up better,’’ he said. “Got to use the fastball more. I just threw way too many curveballs again. Got to throw more changeups.’’ Per fangraphs.com, Snell is throwing fastballs 39.7 percent of the time, curves 30.5 and changeups 22. In last year’s Cy Young-winning season, he was 51.1 percent fastballs, 20.2 curves, 19.3 changeups.
• Outfielder Tommy Pham was knocked out of the first game and held out of the lineup for the second with a bruised right wrist after being hit by a pitch. X-rays were negative, and he said he was fine and tried to talk his way into the lineup.
• The five Rays who started both games: Willy Adames (shortstop), Yandy Diaz (third, first), Avisail Garcia (DH, rightfield), Kevin Kiermaier (center) and Austin Meadows (rightfield, DH).
• With Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw losing Friday, Rays righty Charlie Morton has longest active unbeaten streak in the majors at 20 starts, going back to August with the Astros.
• Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg attended the games.