Los Angeles Dodgers’ relief pitcher J.P. Howell pitched 0.1 innings in Friday’s 3-2 loss against the San Diego Padres. It was Howell’s 60th appearance on the mound, which is more than any other pitcher on the team this season. Rightfully so, as the left-hander has a team-best 1.26 ERA.
There was once a time where it looked like Howell would never pitch again. He started feeling shoulder discomfort in Spring Training of 2010 after pitching in 69 games for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009. In 2010, Howell underwent surgery to repair his labrum in his throwing shoulder.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Howell couldn’t stand the thought of never pitching again:
It was scary, man,” Howell said.
Howell has since recovered and discussed the changes he’s made to his pre-game routine since the surgery:
I do 10 minutes of sprints, then I do my lower-half lifting,” he said. “I do seven reps as heavy as I can go. Then you do core. Then you do sauna. You stretch again. Then it’s game time.”
Howell is grateful that he is pitching on a team in the middle of a pennant race and like Justin Turner, is enjoying this time of the year:
I love it,” he said. “This is a great time of year. Football’s on. It’s just fun. You see the weather starting to change a little bit. This is the whole reason you play, to get the opportunity to go to the playoffs and conquer everybody in the playoffs.”
This is Howell’s second season with the Dodgers. Last year, he went 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA and 11 holds in 67 games pitched. It was the second-highest total of appearances in his career.
Howell has already appeared in 60 games this season and has 25 holds, which leads the team. Barring an injury, he is likely to tally a career-high in games pitched this season.
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