Recent Geneva graduate Andy Honiotes could have had Tommy John surgery earlier but waited until a couple weeks ago in order to be operated on by world-famous surgeon Dr. James Andrews. The right-handed pitcher missed almost his whole senior season after excelling as a junior for the Vikings, and now is turning his attention to his college baseball career at the University of Miami, which will start with a redshirt year as he recovers from surgery. In this week’s Weekend Chit-chat with Chronicle sports editor Jay Schwab, Honiotes touches base on Dr. Andrews, attending school amid the distractions of south Florida and his 12-year-old stepbrother, Ryan, also a budding pitcher. The following is an edited transcript:
How long of a wait is there to get in with Dr. Andrews?
Well, I mean it was a week before we started playoffs that we found out I would need surgery and then it wasn’t until [July 10] we were able to get in, so we were looking at about more or less two months.
When you got there, did you feel like you were in the presence of a celebrity?
He doesn’t really act like a celebrity, per se. He sat and talked with us for quite a while before the surgery and talked with my mom afterward even though I don’t remember being there because I was getting anesthesia. He’s a very nice guy. He knows a lot about orthopedics and elbows and everything, so it was really cool getting to talk to him and being at his institute with all the pictures on the wall and jerseys [of pro players he’s operated on] and everything else, so yeah, it was pretty cool.
Was he pretty businesslike or did he show much personality?
He’s a funny guy. He had some personality but when it came down to it he’s obviously a professional and the way he talks about things, he loves getting up on a soapbox about high school athletics and how pitchers are overused a lot during the summer. But he’s very professional.
With the procedure itself, what was the toughest part on your end?
Probably the nerves before were probably the toughest part. Afterward, there really wasn’t that much pain per se but just trying to calm myself down prior was probably the toughest part.
What does your summer rehab regimen look like?
I started [physical therapy] on Monday and I’ll finish up after I leave for Miami, which will be in another three weeks, and then I’ll just pick up where I left off down there.
Going to school at Miami seem like a tough place to avoid distractions. How do you plan to stay focused?
Obviously my goal is to play professional baseball so just thinking about that goal every single day. Obviously I’m still going to enjoy my time there and have fun but nothing that’s going to get me in any sort of trouble. I look forward to working harder than I’ve ever worked to get back to full strength and hopefully even better than before.
What’s the scouting report on your younger brother?
He’s actually my stepbrother so we’re not blood related, but I’ve taken the last couple of years to teach him what I know and I think his future is probably in pitching as well, but he’s too young to tell right now. … Hopefully I can help him be a good pitcher some day.