11:37AM: The Rays officially announced the move, with right-hander Trevor Richards called up to take Honeywell’s roster spot.
8:08AM: Brent Honeywell Jr. checked his Major League debut off his bucket list on Sunday: two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts against the Yankees. The Rays would ultimately lose the game, but it was a strong showing from the 26-year-old Georgian.
Regardless, the plan was never for Honeywell to claim a rotation spot at this time. In classic Rays fashion, this was a spot start for Honeywell, a strategic call-up to share the innings load and progress a young arm in baby steps. He has been optioned back the minors, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). For Honeywell in particular, there may be added benefit to the short-stint call-up in that he gets to overcome the mental and physical hurdle of making his debut after so many setbacks.
This was Honeywell’s first game action since 2017 when he tossed 123 2/3 innings with a 3.64 ERA at the Triple-A level. At that point, Honeywell appeared on the verge of stardom. Instead of making his debut in 2018, however, Honeywell was set on a Sisyphean cycle of surgery and rehab that included three surgeries.
He was added to the roster at this time because of an injury to Chris Archer. Archer suffered right lateral forearm tightness, but the Rays expect Archer to return after only a short time off. Given that Archer went on the 10-day injured list on April 11th, however, the Rays will need to bring in another arm when Archer’s rotation spot comes back around on Thursday against the Rangers.