Rays' Howell set to throw in sim game

Rays' Howell set to throw in sim game

ST. PETERSBURG -- Reliever J.P. Howell was throwing in right field at Tropicana Field before Sunday's game against the Mariners, and he will be back on the field Monday to throw a simulated game.

Howell, rehabbing a left shoulder strain, will pitch with "no string attached" on Monday, manager Joe Maddon said, meaning the left-hander should be able to throw at maximum velocity without having to hold back.

Maddon said he didn't know exactly how many pitches Howell will throw in the simulated game, but he estimated it would be around 30.

"Thirty pitches is a lot for him in a game," Maddon said. "I'd say if he gets to that point, that'd be about right."

If the simulated game goes well, Maddon said the next step will be to plan Howell's rehab assignment, most likely starting in Port Charlotte with the club's high Class A team. Howell could begin the process of working his way back up to the Major Leagues as early as next week, as Maddon said that decision will come three or four days after Monday's simulated game.