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Rays vs. Yankees: Brent Honeywell on the mound, for openers

Tampa Bay is excited to have the one-time top prospect make his debut after a long injury battle.
Brent Honeywell watched from the dugout as the Rays did some infield drills before making his big-league debut Sunday against the New York Yankees.
Brent Honeywell watched from the dugout as the Rays did some infield drills before making his big-league debut Sunday against the New York Yankees. [ MARC TOPKIN | Times ]
Published Apr. 11
Updated Apr. 11

The Rays are looking to complete a three-game sweep of the Yankees today and have the added excitement of Brent Honeywell making his big-league debut as their opener.

They also have outfielder Manuel Margot back in the lineup after he missed two days with a tweaked groin/quad. Rookie Kevin Padlo will make his second start at third base.

Honeywell, 26, is the Rays’ former top pitching prospect who hurt his elbow in spring 2018, had Tommy John surgery and has been battling his way back since.

“The whole team is excited for him, and we’re looking forward to watching him pitch and have fun,’' shortstop Willy Adames said.

Top starter Tyler Glasnow said he called Honeywell Saturday night after hearing the news to share in the excitement.

“It’s amazing. It’s great,” Glasnow said. “Just watching him, what he’s gone through, and how hard he’s worked, and how good his stuff has looked compared to this time last year. He’s been through so much. So it’s awesome.”

Glasnow said there was no need to give Honeywell any advice.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Glasnow said. “I just know he’s going to go out there and be confident and probably throw well, because he’s a good pitcher. He’s ready for this. He’s been prepared for a long time.”

Manager Kevin Cash said Honeywell was the obvious choice today since it was his day to throw at the alternate site, he is not limited to one inning as the opener, and this may be just a one-game appearance as the Rays will have to make other moves to address bullpen coverage/Thursday’s starter.

Cash said he also has admired Honeywell’s fortitude in getting to this point.

“I can’t quantify or express the magnitude of what he’s dealt with,” Cash said. “I know there’s a lot of people that care about him in the organization. A lot of teammates care about him. I know there’s a lot of guys walking into the ballpark today knowing who heard the news last night after the ballgame that he was going to be starting — a lot of excitement.

“Good for him. Brent has come a long way. The injuries have been spoken about too much for too many years. He did a lot of good things in spring training. His stuff got back to what we saw and what kind of highlighted him in 2017 throughout spring training.”

Honeywell’s father, Brent Sr., will be at the game, which adds to the moment.

“A lot of emotions will fly,” Cash said. “But hopefully he just gets on the mound, does this thing and gets in the zone real quick for us.”

Also Sunday:

* Cash said there was no update on pitcher Chris Archer, who was placed on the injured list after leaving Saturday’s game with forearm tightness the Rays consider similar to tendinitis. The team doesn’t expect him to be out too long. “Seems to be in a good spot,” Cash said.

* Margot is good to go after sitting out the last two games to rest his tweaked groin/quad area, though Cash acknowledged, “it’s something he’s going to manage for the coming days.”

* The Rays are looking to sweep the Yankees in a three-or-more game series at Tropicana Field for the first time since June 2018. They swept them in August in New York.

Here is the Rays lineup:

And for the Yankees:

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