Howell Is Coming Through


Jack Howell had gone six days without an at-bat when he stepped in to face flame-throwing Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning and the Angels trailing by a run Tuesday night.

In terms of tall tasks, this was baseball’s equivalent of scaling the Empire State Building.

“We had a month of spring training, I’ve gotten some at-bats and started once this season,” Howell said. “But it’s definitely different when it’s the ninth inning, the game is on the line and a guy is throwing 95 mph. That’s my job, though.”


It’s a job at which Howell has become quite proficient. The utility infielder hit .294 with nine RBIs as a pinch-hitter in 1996 and led the American League with four pinch-hit home runs.

He came up with another big hit Tuesday, singling off Rivera to start a two-run rally that gave the Angels a 6-5 victory.

“Some nights are pretty ugly,” Howell said. “The other side is a night like [Tuesday] when you feel like you really contributed. My job is a lot like a closer. It’s either feast or famine.”


Manager Terry Collins promised the Angels would be a more aggressive offensive team this season, and statistics show that they are.

When Gary DiSarcina stole second in the seventh inning Wednesday night, it was the Angels’ 12th stolen base in 17 attempts in 13 games, putting them on a pace to steal 150 bases this season.

The Angels didn’t steal their 12th base until the 62nd game last season and finished with 53 steals.