Left-hander Howell progressing well

Left-hander Howell progressing well

SEATTLE -- J.P. Howell continues to make progress from the "weak" left shoulder that sidelined him during Spring Training and has kept him out of action while he rebuilds the strength in the shoulder.

Rays manager Joe Maddon expects the left-hander to throw a couple more "side pieces" in advance of a simulated game. Howell has thrown breaking pitches, and throwing back-to-back side sessions is next on his ladder of progression.

Maddon would not commit to a date when Howell will return. The pitcher has said he would be back at the end of May.

"It's going to be close," Maddon said. "He's on task right now. He's doing well. Barring any setbacks, it's pretty much the end of the month, beginning of next month right now."