Left-handed pitcher J.P. Howell has recanted a statement he made in Friday's editions of The Times about seeing Yasiel Puig bullied in the Dodgers clubhouse.
In an interview with Dodgers.com reporter Ken Gurnick, Howell said, “I was asked if Puig had been bullied and I said yes, but I meant by fans and media and people on the outside that don't know him. Never in the clubhouse. Are you kidding? People early in the season said our clubhouse wouldn't have chemistry, and it turned out to be an awesome clubhouse -- everybody got along."
The Dodgers issued a statement to Gurnick that read: “Bullying is an issue we take very seriously. We've discussed this with Yasiel and he has assured us that he is comfortable with the clubhouse environment as well as his teammates, coaches and support staff. As an organization, we will continue to be proactive in monitoring what goes on in and around our clubhouse.”
The Times’ Bill Shaikin, who interviewed Howell earlier in the week, is standing by his reporting. Shaikin spoke to Howell at the Children’s Bureau Preschool at Magnolia Place, where Howell and his wife read to children and talked to them about bullying. Howell told Shaikin he considered San Diego Padres pitcher Ian Kennedy a bully and shared his own experiences being intimated by teammates.
Dodgers.com did not speak with Shaikin.
Howell is a free agent and said he wants to return to the Dodgers. He is looking for a three-year deal.