Dodgers close to adding lefty Howell to bullpen

By Ken Gurnick /01/04/13 9:30 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are close to reaching a one-year agreement with free-agent left-handed reliever J.P. Howell, according to a baseball source.
Howell, 29, went 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 55 games for the Rays, with 42 strikeouts and 22 walks in 50 1/3 innings in 2012. He missed the entire '10 season with a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair a torn labrum.
The Dodgers want a veteran lefty because Scott Elbert is returning from elbow surgery and Paco Rodriguez has only one month of Major League experience. Those are the only other lefty relievers on the 40-man roster.
Howell, who attended Southern Cal and the University of Texas at Austin, was a first-round pick of the Royals in 2004 and was traded to the Rays in 2006. He was 6-1 with a 2.22 ERA in 64 games in 2008 and followed that with a 2.84 ERA in 69 games in 2009 before the injury.
Howell would join a bullpen that is loaded with right-handers, most of them hard throwers -- Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, Matt Guerrier, Javy Guerra and Shawn Tolleson.
But Jansen is coming off heart surgery, Guerrier a strained forearm tendon and Guerra shoulder surgery.