J. P. Howell

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J. P. Howell
J. P. Howell on April 19, 2013.jpg
Howell with the Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 56
Relief pitcher
Born: (1983-04-25) April 25, 1983 (age 32)
Modesto, California
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
June 11, 2005 for the Kansas City Royals
Career statistics
(through 2014 season)
Win-loss record 28–27
Earned run average 3.94
Strikeouts 477

James Phillip Howell (born April 25, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played in MLB for the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays.


Amateur career[edit]

J.P. attended Saint Mary's School in Sacramento, California. He is an alumnus of Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California where he had a 0.09 ERA his senior year and the University of Texas at Austin, where he led the Longhorns to an appearance in the 2004 College World Series championship series. Howell had the lowest ERA in the CWS that year at 0.77. He was a 1st team High School All-American in 2001 and in 2004 he was selected as 1st team College All-American and Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Kansas City Royals[edit]

Howell was drafted in the 1st round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals. After a brief time in the minors, he made his Major League Baseball debut with the Royals on June 11, 2005. He started the game against the Houston Astros and allowed 1 run in 5 innings to record the win. He made a total of 15 starts for the Royals in 2005 and was 3-5 with a 6.19 ERA.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays[edit]

Howell during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008

On June 20, 2006 Howell was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for infielder Fernando Cortez and outfielder Joey Gathright, and made his Devil Rays debut on August 1, 2006.

After starting in 2006 and 2007, he pitched out of the bullpen for the Rays in 2008. He went 6-1 with a 2.22 ERA in 64 games, striking out 92 batters while earning three saves. He also pitched in the 2008 World Series, a series in which he took the loss in the deciding game 5, giving the Philadelphia Phillies their first world championship in over 25 years.

On July 19, 2009, Howell became only the second Rays pitcher to record three saves in a row in a series (Troy Percival being the first). It came against his former team, the Royals.

In 2010, Howell suffered from what was reported as "weakness" in his left shoulder during spring training. He was not active for the start of the season with the Rays, but was expected to return in late May. He threw in a simulated game on May 17, but stopped after only twelve pitches, still experiencing discomfort in his shoulder. A few days later he underwent surgery on the shoulder, causing him to miss the entire 2010 season. On December 13, 2010, Howell signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.[1][2]

He returned to pitch in 46 games in 2011 and then pitched in 55 in 2012 with a 3.04 ERA.

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

Howell during his tenure with the Dodgers

On January 4, 2013, Howell agreed to a one-year, $2.85 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.[3] On June 14, 2013, Howell was suspended for 2 games after a brawl against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 11. He was a key part of the Dodgers bullpen, appearing in 67 games with a 4-1 record and 2.03 ERA. After the season, he re-signed with the Dodgers on a two year, $11.25 million, contract.[4] He had a 2.39 ERA in 68 appearances for the team in 2014.

Pitching style[edit]

Howell is a soft tosser. He throws his sinker in the mid 80's, topping out at 90 MPH. He also throws a knuckle-curve that has been described by scouts as "heavy" because of its extremely sharp downward break, and some even classify it as a slider.[5] He throws a change-up that breaks away from right-handed hitters. Howell has solid command of all three pitches.

Personal life[edit]

In 2009 Howell married former Olympic hopeful Heather Hennessy[6] of Los Gatos High School Athletic Hall of Fame.[7][8] The couple founded Discover Your Path Foundation to reach out to kids. In 2011, Heather Hennessy-Howell published a children's book, 'The Adventures of Dangles' with an anti-bullying theme.[9] The two read the story to children at the Rays FanFest and later at the Festival of Reading on the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus on October 23, 2011.[10]


External links[edit]