The Rays got the worst-case news they were dreading, that top prospect RHP Brent Honeywell has a torn UCL and is headed for Tommy John surgery.
Honeywell said he plans to have the surgery as soon as possible to expedite his return sometime in the 2019 season.
"It is disappointing," Honeywell said. "I don't really know where to go from here except under the knife. I'm looking forward to helping the club whenever I get back."
Honeywell was injured throwing live batting practice on Thursday, with Wilson Ramos at the plate.
He said he actually felt a pop on the first pitch to Ramos Thursday then when he threw the next one and it wasn’t right that he knew what had done.
“I knew immediately what happened, and that’s why I said what I said (cursing loudly on the field),” he said. “I was frustrated.”
Honeywell said he was throwing harder Thursday than he ever had, pushing 100 mph, but insisted that was not cause of the UCL tear, that it was “inevitable,” would have happened at some point.
He also was adamant that his “unconventional” approach to pitching – including throwing a screwball, and warming up with a weighted ball – had nothing to do with UCL tear.
Honeywell saw Rays orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton on Thursday but knew before the diagnosis what was wrong. He is likely to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, but seemed to be leaning toward having Eaton do the surgery.
The surgery would keep Honeywell, 22, out all of this season and most of 2019.
"I want to get the show on the road," he said. "I don't want to be waiting around. … I want to get it done and I want to be ready to go as quick as possible."
Honeywell, 22, was facing his second batter of the session when he clearly felt something wrong after delivering a fastball on his seventh pitch, throwing his glove down and cursing loudly twice. He was quickly checked by assistant athletic trainer Mike Sandoval, then walked off the mound and to the clubhouse.
Honeywell is the Rays' top prospect and one of the most promising in all of baseball. Though not projected to make the opening day roster, he was expected to make to the majors at some point this season.