Howell will play for the San Rafael Pacifics in 2018, John Shea of SFGate.com reports.
Howell appeared in 16 games for the Blue Jays last season, accruing a 7.36 ERA and 1.82 WHIP with six strikeouts across 11 innings. He'll try his luck in an independent league, although he stated his goal is to return to the major leagues before he calls it a career.
The Blue Jays designated Howell for assignment Wednesday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports.
Toronto had earmarked Howell for a key role as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen after signing him to a one-year, $3 million deal in free agency last winter, but it proved to be a swing and a miss from the front office. When he wasn't sidelined for extended time due to recurring shoulder woes, Howell was often getting lit up by the opposition, as he yielded nine runs on 13 hits and seven walks over 11 innings with the big club. If Howell ends up going unclaimed off waivers, he may just opt for free agency rather than reporting to Triple-A Buffalo in order to take more time off and allow his throwing shoulder to heal up.
Howell (shoulder) allowed a solo home run Friday against Houston in his first appearance since returning from a two-month DL stint.
On his very first big-league pitch since June 3, Howell served up a homer to Tyler White. The lefty followed that up with 11 more pitches and three straight groundouts. Howell came into the game with the Jays down 15-7, and it's likely he'll continue serving in a low-leverage role that's useless for fantasy purposes.
Howell (shoulder) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list Monday, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.ca reports.
The left-hander missed nearly two months with this most recent shoulder issue. However, Howell's infrequent usage and 8.31 ERA on the season make him an unattractive fantasy asset, even in the deepest of AL-only leagues.
Howell (shoulder) allowed an earned run on three hits and a walk on 22 pitches Friday, recording two outs while taking the loss in a rehab outing with Triple-A Buffalo, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports.
In 1.2 rehab innings, the lefty has allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, one walk and a hit batsman. Needless to say, his rehab stint isn't going much better than Howell's poor showing in 13 MLB games this season (8.31 ERA, 2.19 WHIP, .324 BAA and a 5:7 K:BB). Regardless, the offseason acquisition will likely return to the Jays in short order, but he's certainly lost his grip on high-leverage work.
Howell (shoulder) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet 590 The Fan reports.
This is good news for the southpaw, as little had been revealed about his recovery process prior to this development. He's expected to pitch a few more outings with the Bisons, likely meaning he'll return to the Blue Jays' relief corps later in July.
Howell was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday, Gregor Chisolm of MLB.com reports.
Manager John Gibbons was vague on the injury, merely saying "It's all connected" when asked whether this injury was connected to a prior shoulder issue. It's safe to assume, given Howell's brutal 8.31 ERA and 2.19 WHIP, that the Blue Jays won't be rushing him back. That is, if he even has a job at all by the time he's healthy again.
Howell's appeared in just four of Toronto's 22 contests in May.
Manager John Gibbons' early-month concerns regarding the lefty have resulted in minimal usage for Howell. The 34-year-old was signed in the offseason to ease the loss of Brett Cecil, but his contributions (9.64 ERA and 2.79 WHIP) have fallen extremely short of doing so.
Howell's performance since returning from the DL has his manager, John Gibbons, concerned, Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star reports.
In three appearances since coming back from a shoulder injury, Howell has been ineffective at fulfilling his role as the Jays' go-to southpaw out of the bullpen. The 34-year-old gave up a home run in his first outing back, threw a wild pitch in his second appearance and issued a free pass in his most recent game. Howell -- who endured a rough 2016 campaign with the Dodgers -- has logged just 1.2 innings for his new team this year, allowing three runs on a few hits and three walks while failing to notch a strikeout through five games. He's also been tagged with a blown save and one loss over just 1.2 innings. The sample size is too small to make any conclusions, but the fact that Gibbons has already expressed concern is a bad sign.
Howell (shoulder) was activated from the DL on Tuesday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports.
Now that he's back in full health, Howell will return to the Blue Jays' bullpen. During his rehab assignment at High-A Dunedin, Howell pitched two shutout innings over two games and struck out five batters. In a corresponding move, Toronto optioned Leonel Campos to Triple-A Buffalo.
Howell (shoulder) allowed one hit and struck out two In one inning Thursday for High-A Dunedin, The Athletic's John Lott reports.
Howell is eligible to return to the big-league club once he feels up to the task, and it seems that will happen sooner rather than later. However, Thursday was his first rehab game, and the left-hander will probably require one or two more outings before rejoining the Jays' bullpen. A reasonable expectation for Howell's return would be after this weekend series, when the team heads to Yankee Stadium for a three-game set beginning Monday.
Howell (shoulder) is expected to make a few rehab appearances with High-A Dunedin before returning to the big-league bullpen, Mike Wilner of the Blue Jays Radio Network reports.
The left-hander has been on the disabled list since April 9 (retroactive to April 7, however), but it seems like he's been able to nurse his ailing shoulder back to full health in the meantime. Howell should be able to return to Toronto in the next week or so, and he'll likely resume a fairly prominent role in their bullpen once he's good to go.
Howell was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with a sore left shoulder, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports.
The DL stint will be retroactive to Howell's last appearance April 7, when he failed to record an out while conceding two runs on two hits and two walks to take the loss in relief. It's likely the shoulder issue may have contributed to his poor outing, so the Blue Jays are hopeful that some extended time off might be all the lefty needs to right the ship. It's a surprising development nonetheless for the durable Howell, whose last DL stint came all the way back in 2011.
Howell was tagged with the loss Friday after failing to record an out while giving up two runs on a pair of hits and walking two Rays.
The Jays had come back from a four-run deficit to take the lead just before Howell entered the game. He allowed a pair of doubles while sandwiching in his first two free passes of the season. Despite the implosion, the team acquired Howell during the offseason to play a major role out of its bullpen this year, so expect to see him back on the hill soon.
Howell retired the only Orioles hitter he faced, Chris Davis, in his Blue Jays debut on Monday.
Howell was brought in this year to replace Brett Cecil, and the left-handed specialist dove headfirst into that role on Opening Day. In his last seven seasons, Howell has averaged less than an inning of work in 434 total appearances. What owners saw Monday is what they can expect throughout the 2017 campaign. From 2013-16, Cecil averaged 13-plus holds per season with Toronto, and Howell can be expected to do the same -- if not better -- with his new club.
Howell believes he will thrive against the competition in the AL East, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports.
Howell, a native of the west coast, said the unique ballpark environments of the hard-hitting division is one reason he chose to join Toronto this offseason. "The AL East is so intense. All season long it's usually a close race, so there's usually no letup," the lefty said. "The crowd plays a huge factor when you're tired or struggling, in all aspects, really. But when you need it, they're there. You can get something out of it and it can break some guys down, too." The 33-year-old veteran will replace the departed Brett Cecil as the team's go-to lefty in 2017, affording Howell a realistic opportunity to notch 15-plus holds during the campaign.
Howell agreed to a one-year contract with the Blue Jays on Tuesday pending a physical, Buster Olney of ESPN reports.
The 33-year-old has spent the last four seasons in the Dodgers bullpen, accumulating a 2.49 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 205.2 relief innings. The southpaw has especially stymied lefties in the past, as they batted a collective .210/.283/.274 against him in 423 plate appearances with the Dodgers. He dropped off a little last year, posting a 4.09 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 50.2 innings, but the Blue Jays are hoping he can get back on track in their bullpen.
Howell has allowed just two runs in his last 18.2 innings to lower his ERA from 5.31 to 3.23.
The big reason for Howell's success can be tied to his improvement versus right-handed batters, a group that batted .318 against Howell in 2016 but is hitting just .186 this year.
Howell threw one inning, during which he gave up one run, in Saturday's victory over the Mets.
Saturday's game saw Howell's scoreless streak of 6.1 innings come to an end when he gave up his first home run of the season, bringing his ERA up to 5.51. This is concerning, as Howell is coming off a 2015 campaign that ended with a 1.43 ERA, marking his third straight season below the 2.40 mark. However, having given up three runs across 9.1 innings in the month of May, Howell is showing signs of improvement and could progress to his normal form as the season goes on.
Howell has tossed scoreless innings in back-to-back appearances after allowing six runs in one inning over his first three appearances.
Howell has never been a flamethrower, but his 85.4 mph average fastball velocity so far this year would be the lowest mark of his career if it sticks. With zero holds, Howell has a ways to go before regaining a shred of fantasy relevance.
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