Lincoln, NE) - The Lincoln Saltdogs bolstered their pitching staff with the signing of LHP Ty Howington, who was the top draft pick (14th overall) of the Cincinnati Reds in 1999.
Howington, 25, spent five years in the Reds organization, including parts of three seasons with Double-A Chattanooga. In 2001, he compiled an 8-5 record with a 2.30 ERA making three stops during the year, which marked his debut at Double-A. In 2003, his last full season, he was 7-7, 3.53 with 86 strikeouts for Class A Potomac.
Once considered one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in baseball, the Vancouver, Wash., native was plagued by shoulder problems the past two seasons. The 6-5, 205-pound Howington missed the 2004 campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery in May of that year to repair a torn labrum. He had follow up surgery in April 2005 to tighten the shoulder joint and was limited to five innings in three rehabilitation starts last August. He was released by the Reds on March 21, 2006. His career numbers are 22-34 in 90 games (89 starts) with a 4.08 ERA.
"We're excited to have someone of Ty's ability joining the Saltdogs," said Lincoln manager Tim Johnson. "He's always had major league potential but he's gone through some tough times with injuries the past couple of years. He's got a lot of maturity and an understanding of the game and a desire to get back to where he was when he was a top prospect. We're looking forward to helping him realize his dreams and at the same time win a championship while he's here."
Prior to his injuries, Howington's fastball was clocked in the 93-95 mph which led to his selection by the Reds out of Hudson's Bay High School. As a senior, he finished with a 12-3 record striking out 149 batters, while walking just 24 in 84 innings of work. At the time, Reds' Scouting Director DeJon Watson said Howington was, "a powerful pitcher with a great breaking ball and a great feel for pitching. He has a chance to be a solid No. 3, if not No. 2, starter in the big leagues."
Among the players selected in the first round of the 1999 draft included Josh Beckett (#2 overall), Barry Zito (#9), Ben Sheets (#10), and Jason Jennings (#16).