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Rays Journal: Prospect Brent Honeywell set back again with nerve issue

Full-time replacement unlikely to be named for Tyler Glasnow; there’s now someone in the dugout with a doctorate degree
Charlie Morton started for the Rays on Tuesday in the first 2019 game of the Citrus Series. [LYNNE SLADKY | Associated Press]
Published May 15
Updated May 15

MIAMI - Brent Honeywell’s comeback from spring 2018 Tommy John surgery is stalled again.

A Monday visit to Dr. James Andrews confirmed a nerve irritation in his upper arm, and he will remain shut down from throwing for another week and then re-evaluated.

Honeywell, 24, was initially sidelined in mid-April due to right elbow discomfort, checked out and allowed to resume playing catch, but then developed the latest issue.

The Rays do not appear overly concerned, and note the issue is not structural or connected to the elbow ligament surgery, though could be related.

If on an optimistic schedule Honeywell could have been through with rehab and pitching in regular-season games (in the majors or minors) sometime in June, that is now likely pushed back to July or August.

He has been considered one of the top pitching prospects in the game for several years.

More medical:

* Reliever Hunter Wood (shoulder) threw 32 pitches over two innings Monday for the Stone Crabs in his second rehab game, but may not be reinstated immediately. “Heard it went okay,’’ Cash said, planning to talk with team officials about whether Wood would make another rehab outing, and if so whether with Charlotte or Triple-A Durham.

* Infielder Matt Duffy (hamstring) resumed his rehab on Monday with the Stone Crabs and will play again on Wednesday. He can’t return until May 27.

* Pitcher Jose De Leon makes the third start of his rehab from spring 2018 Tommy John surgery, moving up to Triple-A Durham, on Wednesday. He can stay on rehab through June 2, and could be optioned to the minors.

Rotation replacement plans

The Rays are still talking about how they’ll replace injured Tyler Glasnow in their rotation, and it sounds like it will be an ongoing conversation. “I don’t think we’re going to say we’re naming a third starter,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t see that happening.’’ More likely, they will continue to mix and match, using Jalen Beeks (who is set for Wednesday), Yonny Chirinos (Friday in New York) and potentially Ryan Yarbrough (currently at Triple A, and an option for Sunday as starters or behind openers based on the matchups. Given that starting next Tuesday they open a stretch of 34 games in 34 days (with one doubleheader) and 47 in 48, they could eventually need more help. Don’t expect that to be a big-money addition, such as free agent Dallas Keuchel, or likely to be traded Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, as they expect Glasnow back in four-six weeks.

Meet the doctor in the dugout

The Rays already have what is likely the first uniformed coach with a mathematics degree from Princeton in Jonathan Erlichman, who handles process & analytics. And now there’s a good chance they’re the first team with a member of their traveling party who holds a doctorate of pharmacy degree. Korean translator Ha Ram (Sam) Jeong was away from the team over the weekend to get his degree from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, completing a six-year program. “Definitely rewarding,’’ he said. Jeong was hired this year to work with Ji-Man Choi but hopes to someday transition to the medical side with a team and put his degree to use.

The Lowe-down

Brandon Lowe pinch-hit Tuesday, and he struck out. That makes him hitless in his last 13 at-bats, with 11 strikeouts, including a team-record tying eight in a row. “He’s missed some fastballs he was hitting early on,’’ Cash said. “I think pitchers have recognized breaking balls and changeups can give any hitters (issues) but have given him issues lately. It’s kind of on him to make an adjustment, get a breaking ball, get a changeup in the zone and do something with it.’’

Number of the day

471

Distance, estimated by StatCast, of Avisail Garcia’s home run to center, longest by a visitor in the eight-year history of Marlins Park, and by a Ray since StatCast was first used in 2015.

Miscellany

* Former Rays closer Sergio Romo, now with the Marlins, popped into the clubhouse to visit with his former mates. “It was a really, really good feeling,’’ he said. “It was great to see some of the guys I hadn’t seen since last year. The fact that it felt normal, that’s probably the best part about it. Almost as if I never left.’’

* The Rays now lead the “Citrus Series” with the Marlins 58-56, though 28-31 on the road.

* Minor-league hitting coordinator Steve Livesey timed a stint seeing the big-league team with the visit to Miami, and that way could see his big brother, Jeff, who is the Marlins interim hitting coach (recently promoted from assistant). Steve said it was one of the first times they were on the field together for a regular season game, having crossed paths a number of times during spring training.

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