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Rays' Honeywell undergoes arm procedure

No. 91 prospect expected to pick up training next week in Florida
Brent Honeywell has thrown 416 career innings in the Minor Leagues since debuting in 2014. (Chris Robertson/MiLB.com)
@SamDykstraMiLB
May 21, 2020

The status of Brent Honeywell Jr.'s arm has been on the minds of many Rays fans over the last two-plus years. The Tampa Bay organization provided an update on that front Thursday. MLB.com's No. 91 overall prospect underwent a decompression procedure on his right ulnar nerve Wednesday, the Rays announced.

The status of Brent Honeywell Jr.'s arm has been on the minds of many Rays fans over the last two-plus years. The Tampa Bay organization provided an update on that front Thursday.

MLB.com's No. 91 overall prospect underwent a decompression procedure on his right ulnar nerve Wednesday, the Rays announced. The procedure, which was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Steven Shin in Los Angeles, removed scar tissue from around the nerve near Honeywell's right elbow. He is expected to begin strength and mobility exercises on Monday at the Rays' facility in Port Charlotte, Florida.

The 25-year-old right-hander last appeared on a Minor League mound on Sept. 19, 2017, when he earned the win for Durham in the Triple-A National Championship against Memphis. He missed all of the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in February of that year, then missed the following campaign as well after needing surgery to repair a fractured right elbow in June 2019. Honeywell didn't appear in a Grapefruit League game this spring while continuing to rehab and, as a member of Tampa Bay's 40-man roster, he was optioned to Durham on March 8.

When healthy, the 2014 72nd overall pick's stuff ranks with the top pitching prospects in the game. His fastball is capable of touching the mid-90s and his unique screwball, which earned plus grades, has made him something of a Minor League legend. His changeup also is considered a plus pitch, and he rounds out the arsenal with an above-average slider, giving him the multiple options required to start in the Majors.

Honeywell looked ready to debut in the Majors after the 2017 season, in which he posted a 3.64 ERA with 152 strikeouts and 31 walks over 123 2/3 innings for Durham. He was also named the All-Star Futures Game MVP that summer after tossing two scoreless innings as the U.S. starter, thus becoming the first pitcher to receive such an honor.

Despite his injury history, the Georgia native enters the 2020 season as the No. 6 prospect in a loaded Rays system behind only Wander Franco, Brendan McKay, Vidal Brujan, Xavier Edwards and Shane Baz.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.