Honeck Off To Hot Start In Return

Honeck is off to a hot start after a short 2010

SAVANNAH, GA -- Sam Honeck has good reason to be excited about the start of the 2011 season. The Sand Gnats first baseman missed all but six games of 2010, following a vicious lower leg injury. Now the Mets' 2009 11th round pick is back and looking forward to productive season one step at a time.

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It was a tricky throw to home that had a Delmarva Shorebirds catcher trying to stop Sam Honeck's dash from third base. The catcher jumped for Honeck and after colliding and crossing legs, Honeck was left with fractures in his lower leg and a season-ending injury.

Having missed most of the 2010 season with the Savannah Sand Gnats as a result, the organization's 2009 11th round pick returns to first base position this year with a sense of cautious optimism, after appearing in just six games in 2010.

"Missing the whole season is never fun," Honeck told Inside Pitch before the Sand Gnats' first home game on Thursday night. "It was pretty unfortunate. But everything happens for a reason. And I'm absolutely ready to start. I can't get enough of the game."

Honeck, who was not medically cleared to return to the field until just before camp opened, spent much of the off season getting himself back in shape after the injury. Much of rehab was hard work, Honeck said.

"It was pretty intense. For the first couple of months I wasn't doing anything. Then I was in full therapy till I could walk. The biggest thing was waiting for the bone to actually heal, which took five or six months," the Gnats' first baseman explained.

However, once Spring Training began, Honeck says he was prepared to do what it took to get him back to playing status. "It was certainly a grind. If I was sore, I would take it easy and I would do a little extra rehab at the end of the day. Never stretched so much in my life, but I knew I had to do whatever I needed to do to stay out there."

Now he's back for the 2011 season and is off to a hot start. The first baseman picked up 13 hits in his first 29 at-bats (.448), with five RBI and three doubles in eight games. In addition to his strong start, Honeck returns with a feeling of thankfulness for the new season.

"Honestly, right now, I have no idea what kind of physical hurdles I'll have," he explained. "At this point, I'm just fortunate that I'm out here. My goal is to stay healthy the entire season and get to the end of the season in one piece," he joked before picking up his bat and heading out for some more practice.


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