The Dodgers and left-handed reliever J.P. Howell have agreed on a 1-year/$3 million contract, adding the southpaw to an already deep Dodgers bullpen.
ESPN’s Buster Olney confirmed the signing via Twitter.
Howell, 30 in April, appeared in 55 games for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012, posting a 1-0 record with a 3.04 ERA.
By time Opening Day arrives, Howell will have been three years removed from a surgery on his left shoulder to repair his labrum. It caused him to miss 206 games stemming from the entire 2010 season until May 2011.
Upon returning, Howell posted a 6.16 ERA for the Rays, but showed signs of improvement in 2012.
His strikeout numbers are still a ways from his gaudy numbers of the 2008-2009 seasons.
For a comparison on labrum surgery, I checked out Jose Valverde, who underwent surgery in 2004, causing him to miss the majority of that campaign. In 2005 he returned to the tune of a 3-4 record and 2.44 ERA with the Diamondbacks; saving 15 games in 61 appearances.
The following year his ERA ballooned to 5.84 as he saved just 18 games in 44 appearances.
Howell will get one year from the Dodgers, but could very well stay if all goes well. His next five seasons could fall in line with Valverde, who went on to be a successful closer with the Tigers after leaving the Diamondbacks.
He takes the place of Randy Choate, who moved on to the Cardinals, signing a 3-year/$7.5 million contract. Howell will join Scott Elbert as the team’s left-handed options, who are complimented in the bullpen by Brandon League, Kenley Jansen and Ronald Belisario among others.
Howell attended the University of Southern California for his freshman season before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin. After college he was drafted with the 31st pick in the 2004 amateur draft by the Kansas City Royals.
He was born in Modesto, Calif.