Per Marc Topkin:
Officially there is no update yet on the status of LHP J.P. Howell.
But indications are that Howell went to Birmingham, Ala., today to be seen by Dr. James Andrews, will have surgery this week to repair his labrum and will be out about a full year.
Howell has been sidelined since spring training due to what was described as weakness in his left shoulder. He had been working on a rehab program aimed at a late May return but when he threw at full bore for the first time Monday during a simulated game he stopped after only 12 pitches.
Obviously, this is not good news. J.P. has been the workhorse of the Rays' bullpen for the past two seasons and his versatility will be sorely missed. He's been the Rays' most consistent and dominant bullpen arm since he moved there full-time in 2008, posting xFIPs of 3.54 and 3.47, and he's served as Maddon's roving high-leverage bullpen ace. He's one of the best relievers in the league and from all reports, he's a great guy; my heart goes out to him.
There's no silver lining to this move, but at least the Rays' bullpen has been solid so far this season. Grant Balfour has seemingly taken his game to a new level, Joacquin Benoit has been nothing short of dominant, and Rafael Soriano has been the definition of a shut-down closer. With those three relievers, the Rays shouldn't feel the loss of J.P. Howell too badly. Like we mentioned time and time again before the season, the Rays have intentionally built their team deep so that they can withstand injuries to key players. This injury is not ideal, but the Rays' bullpen is still enviably strong.