Howell undergoes surgery on left shoulder
Update 5:50 p.m. Executive VP Andrew Friedman said LHP J.P. Howell's surgery went "as well as it could" and is optimistic the lefty will be ready for the 2011 season and "he'll be the J.P. Howell of old."
It was expected Howell would have surgery to repair the labrum in Howell's shoulder, but Friedman wouldn't get into specifics. Friedman did say that when they first got the news of the weakness in Howell's shoulder in spring, "in our mind's eye, we were approaching it like he wouldn't be back (this season), and if he was, obviously it'd be a huge boost. But we approached it from that vantage point."
Friedman said he has a lot of confidence in the relievers currently in the bullpen, even if they only have one lefty (Randy Choate), but acknowledged "if something presents itself that makes a lot of sense, obviously we'll be aggressive in pursuing it."
Manager Joe Maddon said RHPs Lance Cormier and Joaquin Benoit, as well as Andy Sonnanstine, have shown they can get out lefties as well, and is confident in them.
Howell hasn't been available for comment, but Friedman spoke to him before the surgery.
"Obviously he was frustrated, it was an emotional moment for him, going through this for the first time," Friedman said. "He's in great hands, he's a great worker, great competitor, so I would certainly never bet against him."
Developing: Rays reliever J.P. Howell underwent surgery on his left shoulder today, and the team is "optimistic" he'll be ready to start the 2011 season.
Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery in Alabama.