Howard was invited to the Phillies' major-league spring training Monday. Howard battled shoulder soreness last season, but he managed to progress to the Double-A level and record a 2.35 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP over 30.2 innings with Double-A Reading. While he's unlikely to open the season on the major-league roster, he'll get the chance to work with the big-league coaching staff and will likely make his debut in the majors sometime in 2020 if he continues to progress.
Howard struck out two and walked six in 4.2 innings in the Arizona Fall League on Thursday. Howard's fastball reached 98 mph and was grouped with an excellent curveball and slider, Josh Norris of Baseball America reports. The 23-year-old battled shoulder issues this season but was excellent when available, recording a 2.03 ERA in 15 starts while striking out 34.8 percent of opposing batters and walking just 5.9 percent. Six of those starts came at the Double-A level, leaving him positioned to make his big-league debut at some point next season if his progress continues.
Howard has been promoted to Double-A Reading and will pitch Friday, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. He made seven starts for High-A Clearwater, recording an impressive 1.29 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 48:5 K:BB in 35 innings. The 22-year-old is one of the Phillies' top prospects and has made a full recovery from a shoulder injury back in mid-May.
Howard (shoulder) returned to High-A Clearwater on Monday, allowing just a single hit across four scoreless innings while striking out seven against Palm Beach. Howard had been dealing with a shoulder injury since mid-May. He now has an excellent 1.88 ERA through five starts for Clearwater, striking out 40.7 percent of opposing hitters while walking just 4.4 percent.
Howard (shoulder) allowed a hit and a walk, while striking out five, over three innings in his first rehab start since being sidelined in late April. Howard needed just 24 pitches (20 strikes) to record nine outs following a lengthy absence. He'll presumably pick up another rehab start or two before rejoining the rotation at High-A Clearwater. A summer stint at Double-A Reading should follow barring any further injury setbacks.
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