The Dodgers organization is mourning the loss of former reliever and coach Ken Howell, who passed away on Friday at age 57.Howell was known for both his passion on the mound and his tireless commitment to improving many other pitchers in the Dodgers' system. A third-round selection in the 1982
The Dodgers organization is mourning the loss of former reliever and coach Ken Howell, who passed away on Friday at age 57.
Howell was known for both his passion on the mound and his tireless commitment to improving many other pitchers in the Dodgers' system. A third-round selection in the 1982 MLB Draft, Howell pitched in Los Angeles for five seasons before he was involved in a trade to the Orioles that netted the Dodgers future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. (He was dealt again four days later to the Phillies.) The right-hander pitched through the '90 season, finishing his career with a 3.95 ERA in 245 appearances (including 54 starts and 31 saves).
Jerry Hairston Jr., who spent the final two years of his career in Los Angeles, tweeted: "Just heard of the passing of Kenny Howell. Incredible man and mentor who was a beloved player & coach for the #Dodgers. Just didn't get much better than him."
But Howell may have had an even bigger impact for the Dodgers as a coach, beginning in 2002 when he took an assignment as pitching coach for Class A Vero Beach. He ascended to bullpen coach for the Major League club in '08 and then assistant pitching coach in '13, as he worked alongside pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to build the Dodgers' pitching staff into a perennially standout unit.
Multiple members of the Dodgers organization shared their reverence for Howell via Twitter.
Former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti offered praise for Howell, who was a pivotal figure in the development of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
"When we decided to turn a Minor League catcher named @kenleyjansen74 into a pitcher, Kenny played a major role. He 'heart' Dodgers; it was reciprocal," tweeted Colletti.
Joshua Lindblom, who was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round in the 2008 Draft, reflected fondly of his former coach.
"He is one of the most influential coaches I've had in my career," tweeted Lindblom. "He never stopped believing in his guys. He took a bunch of rookies in 2011 and made us big leaguers. Amazing man, coach, and friend."
Howell worked for the Dodgers until the beginning of 2015, when complications from diabetes took on a bigger role in his life. He passed away in West Bloomfield, Mich., near his birthplace of Detroit.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.