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Tampa Bay Rays reliever J.P. Howell to have labrum surgery, likely out for a year

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP J.P. Howell likely won't pitch again for another year.

Howell is expected to have surgery this week to repair the labrum in his left shoulder and miss the rest of this season and the first part of 2011.

The Rays on Tuesday acknowledged only that Howell went to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined by noted specialist Dr. James Andrews and said they "don't expect to know anything more until (today)."

Howell has been sidelined since spring training with left shoulder weakness and had been rehabbing with a late-May return targeted. But he cut short Monday's simulated game after 12 pitches and clearly wasn't happy about it.

"He was upset," manager Joe Maddon said. "I saw that and that's why I dropped what I was doing and just sought him out. I just went and talked to him for maybe about 5 or 10 minutes just to try to settle him down a bit because he's disappointed."

Maddon said it's understandable that Howell, 27, feels that way.

"I just told him he's got our support, obviously, and he's going to be fine," Maddon said. "It's always difficult for a young man like that when you are injured for the first time with some kind of significance to it that you're going to automatically assume the worst. So I told him not to do that, you're in good hands and we'll get you all fixed up and back out there pitching."

LEANING LEFT: 1B Carlos Peña had a bit of a breakthrough Tuesday, driving in his first run in 16 starts and logging his first two-hit game since April 28. Even better, he hit the ball to leftfield, and on a line, typically signs he's about to get on a hot streak.

"I know it's been a while," said Peña, whose slump had stretched to 4-for-54. "I'm just happy to be able to contribute."

Maddon said he also thought B.J. Upton has looked better at the plate.

20-DAY PLAN: With the Rays in the midst of a 20-games-in-20-days stretch, Maddon is looking for slots to rest players, so LF Carl Crawford got Tuesday off. It made sense with the Rays facing a lefty and Crawford wanting to play the next three series, against the Yankees, his hometown Astros and Red Sox.

The only Ray to play every game is 3B Evan Longoria, and Maddon is contemplating giving him a day at DH with Hank Blalock playing third.

NUMBERS GAME: Jason Bartlett's 19 RBIs are the most of any player in the majors without a home run. … Rays starters are 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA, have 29 quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer runs) and have allowed two earned runs or fewer 26 times. … INF Reid Brignac logged his sixth pinch-hit RBI, most in the AL. … The Rays are 8-1 in their past nine games against lefties — losing only to perfect-gamer Dallas Braden — and 13-5 overall.

MISCELLANY: OF Matt Joyce (right elbow strain) started a new 20-day rehab assignment with Class A Charlotte and went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks as the DH. … Former DH Pat Burrell is expected to clear release waivers at 1 today, making him free to sign with another team. … The Rays added a postgame concert, with Bradenton's We The Kings to play after the May 28 game vs. the White Sox.

Tampa Bay Rays reliever J.P. Howell to have labrum surgery, likely out for a year 05/18/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 7:35am]
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