Brent Honeywell Puts Positive Spin On Tommy John Surgery
For those who don’t know righthander Brent Honeywell, it may have seemed a little off-putting the way he handled the news that he tore his ulnar cruciate ligament while throwing batting practice Feb. 22 and was headed for Tommy John surgery.
But for those who know him, it was hardly a surprise at all.
Informed that night by Rays orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton, Honeywell called teammate Chris Archer to put his own spin on the news.
"The first thing he said was, 'I’m definitely going to throw harder than you now with a new ligament—definitely,' " Archer recounted. "So he’s in good spirits, as devastating as it is."
The surgery delayed the 22-year-old Honeywell's big league debut until mid-2019 at the earliest.
Honeywell said all the right things, about knowing he has to channel his determination and work ethic into his rehab. And he already sought the counsel of some veterans in the Rays clubhouse who had been through the ups and downs of the 15-month process, including Jonny Venters (three times) and Nathan Eovaldi (twice).
But the reality is that for pretty much the next year, Honeywell—the No. 14 prospect in baseball at the time—will be denied from doing the one thing he enjoys most: pitching a baseball.
"It is disappointing,’’ Honeywell said. "I don't really know where to go from here except under the knife. I'm looking forward to helping the club whenever I get back."
Though known for his admittedly "unconventional” training regimen (including warming up with a weighted ball) and repertoire (including throwing a screwball), Honeywell was adamant that the injury was not related.
"Sometimes I think it’s the inevitable," Honeywell said. "People don’t understand that. It’s either going to (tear), or it’s not."
Brent Honeywell Remains On Target
The Rays' top pitching prospect enters the year targeting May or June for his return from Tommy John surgery.
Also, no surprise, he said he was throwing better than he ever had before it happened. He was facing his first ever big league hitters in BP and was pushing 100 mph.
"That was the most powerful I've ever felt through seven pitches in my whole career right there," Honeywell said. "That's what frustrates me the most."
Well that and now missing a year and a half.