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Rays GM says Brent Honeywell will have ‘peace of mind’ after latest surgery

By awarding Honeywell a fourth option year, the Rays won’t be forced to keep the prospect in the majors.
Brent Honeywell still hopes to make his major-league debut in 2021 despite a fourth surgery on his elbow.
Brent Honeywell still hopes to make his major-league debut in 2021 despite a fourth surgery on his elbow. [ Times (2017) ]
Published Dec. 19, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — The news that prospect Brent Honeywell underwent a fourth surgery on his elbow, albeit minor, sounded bad. Even Rays general manager Erik Neander admitted that.

But the impact on Honeywell’s 2021 availability will be minimal, Neander said, and the outcome likely will be better as a result of Wednesday’s arthroscopic procedure, which cleaned up thickening in the capsule and shaved a bone spur.

“Really a minor procedure, truly,” Neander said. “Obviously he’s been through a lot so it’s hard to hear ‘minor’ and ‘elbow’ and ‘surgery’ and not be concerned. ... (But we) just felt for Brent’s peace of mind that it would put him in the best position to impact things in 2021, without having any doubt, anything in the back of his mind.”

Honeywell has not pitched in a game since September 2017 at Triple-A, having Tommy John surgery, then procedures on a broken bone in his elbow and to have a nerve decompressed. He is expected to resume throwing in late January and aims to make his big-league debut sometime in 2021.

“The timeframe is short enough, reasonable enough,” Neander said. “You never want to go in there again, but everything went well. And it’s something that we really don’t expect to have impact his 2021 season.”

Honeywell, via a post on Twitter, said he remained undeterred: “I’m a baller. And have had way worse. I’m feeling good. I owe it to the game of baseball to keep pushing. And that’s what I’ll do.”

The Rays are going to get an additional fourth option on Honeywell as a result of the extensive time he has missed, Neander said, which is a good thing for them. Typically there are three options, which the Rays have used, meaning they otherwise would have had to keep Honeywell in the majors this season or risk exposing him to waivers to try to send him to the minors.

Prospect to hold camp

Infield prospect Xavier Edwards is only 21 and has not played above Class A, but for the third straight year he is holding an instructional camp for kids in the Fort Lauderdale area.

“For me it doesn’t matter what age you are to help other people, and to give back, to put smiles on other people’s face and to share information,” Edwards said. “The main thing is just to have fun with the kids, give them somewhere to play baseball and see us for what we are, baseball players just like they are.”

The Dec. 28-29 camp is free, with about 80 children ranging in age from 9 to 15 expected, Edwards said, including “a large number of minority kids, which is great because baseball is lacking that.” Edwards, acquired in December 2019 from the Padres, will be joined by some current and former big-leaguers, and other top minor-leaguers.

Odds and ends

The Rays have expressed some interest in bringing back right-handed reliever Ryne Stanek, who was traded to the Marlins in July 2019 and non-tendered after the 2020 season. The Dodgers, Reds and Yankees are among other teams interested. ... Right-hander Chris Ellis was signed to a minor-league contract with a spring invite. Ellis, 28, has pitched one big-league inning (for the Royals in 2019), spending six seasons in the minors with the Angels, Braves and Cardinals, going 45-40 with a 4.80 ERA in 164 appearances (106 starts).