Rays journal: Top pitching prospect Honeywell shelved with forearm soreness

The Rays are optimistic Honeywell’s setback is just normal soreness that some pitchers feel in their recovery from Tommy John surgery.
TAILYR IRVINE   |   TimesBrent Honeywell Jr. (59) runs through a drill during the first Tampa Bay Rays full-squad spring training workout at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019.
TAILYR IRVINE | TimesBrent Honeywell Jr. (59) runs through a drill during the first Tampa Bay Rays full-squad spring training workout at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019.
Published April 18
Updated April 18

ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-hander Brent Honeywell, the Rays’ top pitching prospect, has been shut down with forearm soreness, a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Honeywell, who had Tommy John in Feb. of 2018, has just made his first extended spring training start on Saturday, but shortly thereafter felt discomfort in his forearm.

The 24-year-old Honeywell’s progress from surgery hadn’t hit any roadblocks until this week, and he is expected to potentially become a big league option as early as June.

"Optimistically, it's fairly common for these guys to have minimal setbacks so we're keeping our fingers crossed that that's what it is," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Honeywell was slated to make his second extended spring start on Thursday, but didn't pitch.

"He was a little bit sore so we shut him down," Cash said. "We'll see how it goes the next couple days. Probably shut him down from throwing and go from there."

On-base streak over, Pham focusing on getting better results

Outfielder Tommy Pham's 48-game on-base streak ended on Wednesday with an 0-for-4 night, and Cash noted how the Rays' recent success has correlated with Pham joining the team.

"Dating back to whenever that trade happened, it seems like we really took off offensively," Cash said. "We took off in a lot of ways. It's not all him, but certainly he's been a big part sitting right there in the middle of our lineup doing a lot of special things for us."

The Rays are 40-16 in games in which Pham has started, but speaking Thursday, Pham said he's been off to a slow start this season. Pham's .375 on-base percentage is fourth on the team, but he entered Thursday hitless in his last 10 at bats and two hits over his last 18 at bats.

"Right now, I'm being average and it just hurts me because I work so hard to be better than average," Pham said. "But it's just a matter of when I find my stride and really take off, I can look back at it and say, 'Hey, at least I was average.'

"I've learned from my past couple seasons when you're not feeling good, can you just be average?" Pham said. "Because in order to have a great, great year, you really need just two great months and four average months. Can you just be average in terms of the sabermetric numbers."

Miscellany

— Cash is optimistic that left-hander Blake Snell could miss just one start before returning from a broken toe on his right foot. Cash said Snell threw on the side on Thursday could throw a bullpen on Saturday.

— Infielder Joey Wendle homered Thursday in his second extended spring training game, taking another step to his return from a hamstring injury. He could return at some point during this weekend’s series against the Red Sox.

— Cash said infielder Matt Duffy has had “minimal improvement” as he recovers from back and hamstring injuries. Duffy has resumed most baseball activities but still isn’t expected to return until May at the earliest.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.



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