LHP J.P. Howell is changing his number from No. 39 to 74 for a heartfelt reason.
It is his tribute to his longtime pitching instructor, Guy Dubets, who died recently from diabetes at age 52.
The number came from the alphabet - 7 for the G, 4 for the D - the thought from the heart.
"He was my coach since I was 11 and played a crucial role in who I am as a pitcher today," Howell said. "I never got to repay him properly. So this is about the only way I could think of."
Dubets (above) was a huge fan of the Rays style of play, and Howell had a framed jersey sent to the funeral.
"He helped so many young kids stay on track in life and never got credit,'' Howell said.
Dubets, who lived in Howell's hometown of Sacramento, Calif., was a little off the wall, Howell said, and sometimes got more ridicule than credit for his knowledge. "He had so much energy,'' Howell said. Plus, he played the bass guitar.
Howell and his wife, Heather, plan to start a charity to help raise money for the diabetes effort: Dominating Diabetes in Memory of Guy Dubets.
Posted by Marc Topkin at 9:59:13 am on May 14, 2011