In a key moment for the Rays and righty Brent Honeywell, the prized youngster resumed throwing from the mound today, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. He remains a long ways away from competitive action but now can begin his rehab in earnest.
Long a lauded talent, Honeywell has been rehabbing for about two years now. He was sidelined by a brutal string of health problems in his elbow, beginning with Tommy John surgery and most recently featuring a fracture.
Honeywell’s timeline is still unclear, but Topkin provides some parameters. In the best case scenario, Honeywell might be ready to join a Rays affiliate at some point in May. Whether and when he could end up on the MLB map is obviously depend upon quite a few preliminary factors.
Honeywell seemed close to big league readiness when last he was seen in game action. In 2017, he worked to a 3.49 ERA with 11.3 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 over 136 2/3 innings in the upper minors.
The future still remains bright as Honeywell closes in on his 25th birthday — presuming, at least, that he can finally get back to competitive pitching. Baseball America and MLB.com have ranked him among the game’s hundred best prospects in each of the past five years, even as the health concerns have mounted.
Honeywell knows he has a lot of work left, of course, having gone through this process before. But he called the return to the mound “a big, big leap mentally wise” and says he “was real happy with it.” Indeed, the former second rounder even indicated that he feels better and more confident now than he did at any point during his original comeback effort.