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Dodgers sign J.P. Howell

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signing of left-handed reliever J.P. Howell to a one-year contract. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

“J.P. adds to our bullpen, especially from the left side,” said Colletti. “He provides Don with additional choices of someone who has pitched at a high level in very competitive situations.”

Howell, 29, went 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 55 appearances with Tampa Bay last season, holding opponents to a .223 batting average. He limited left-handed hitters to a .200 batting average (17-for-85) and held first batters to a .213 mark (10-for-47). Howell posted a streak of 27.1 consecutive scoreless innings in 24 appearances from June 14-Aug. 30, which was the fifth-lowest streak in the Majors in 2012 and also established a Tampa Bay club record.

Since 2008, Howell ranks seventh in the American League (min. 200 games) with a .209 opponents’ batting average and places 18th during that time with a 3.08 ERA. The Modesto, CA native has averaged more than a strikeout per inning in that span with 239 strikeouts and only 112 walks in 237.0 innings.

The seven-year Major League veteran has a 21-23 career record with a 4.42 ERA in 267 games (33 starts) with Kansas City (2005) and Tampa Bay (2006-12). In his career, he’s averaged 8.4 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and allowed just 34 of 136 inherited runners to score (25%). Howell has appeared in 13 postseason games in his career, posting a 3.00 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 12.0 innings, and also made three scoreless appearances (3.1 IP) for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The 6-foot, 190-pounder was originally selected by Kansas City in the first round (31st overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and signed by current Dodger scout Chet Sergo. The Jesuit High School graduate (Carmichael, CA) originally attended the University of Southern California before transferring to the University of Texas. Howell and his wife, Heather, reside in St. Petersburg, FL.

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