By Josh Vitale, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — The first Charlotte Stone Crabs starting pitcher to be promoted to Double-A Montgomery will not be No. 2 Rays prospect Brent Honeywell.
Right-hander Hunter Wood was sent up to join the Biscuits on Sunday after going 3-3 with a 1.76 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings over 10 games (nine starts) for the Stone Crabs.
Through 19 High-A appearances dating back to last season, Wood had has a 2.18 ERA.
“He’s been unbelievable,” manager Michael Johns said. “When he has his best stuff, he just mismatches the whole league. And the numbers speak for themselves.”
Johns said Wood is scheduled to start Wednesday for the Biscuits, placing him in a crowded rotation that already features Taylor Guerrieri, Jacob Faria, Chih-Wei Hu, Ryne Stanek, Chris Kirsch and, to a lesser extent, Jared Mortensen.
Montgomery, whose roster stands at 26 with the addition of Wood, has not yet announced a corresponding move, but it’s possible that one of the six starters listed above could be promoted to Triple-A Durham.
Wood will be replaced in the Charlotte rotation by 21-year-old right-hander Henry Centeno, who was promoted from Low-A Bowling Green after going 5-1 with a 1.35 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings over nine appearances (six starts).
In 32 Low-A appearances dating back to last season, the 2010 non-drafted free-agent signing out of Venezuela has a 3.19 ERA.
“I’d be lying if I said I knew a lot about him,” Johns said of Centeno, who will debut Tuesday at Jupiter. “But he obviously got promoted for a reason.”
Speaking of Honeywell, the right-hander (who hasn’t pitched since May 9 due to right arm tenderness) said his arm feels good and that he threw a few bullpens while the team was on the road last week. He expects to return “soon.”
THE ADVENTURES OF (NICK) SAWYER
Right-hander Nick Sawyer made his first appearance at Charlotte Sports Park since 2015 Tommy John surgery on Saturday and looked just like his old self, walking one batter and striking out the other three in a scoreless ninth.
Though his velocity was down from where it was pre-surgery (from the 96-97 range to 92-94 against Fort Myers), his breaking ball looked sharp, looping in at around 83-84 mph and causing a few swing-and-misses.
Through three appearances since coming off the disabled list this season, Sawyer has walked four and struck out six over three scoreless, hitless innings. Dating back to the start of last season, he’s struck out 10 over six scoreless frames.
“It’s good to see Sawyer out there again coming off the injury,” Johns said.