"I struggled with being consistent with my mechanics," Howry said. "It's something I fought all year. I struggled to find that smooth place where it's consistent all the time. It messed with my location. It's a matter of ironing out some kinks."After enduring such a rough year, Howry was flattered when the Giants approached him about handling setup chores.
"I know, after last season, there may be some people out there who think I'm not up for the role I've done most of my career," he said.
Sabean theorized that leaving Chicago's Wrigley Field and making most of his appearance at the largely pitcher-friendly parks in the National League West could help Howry, who finished with a 5.89 home ERA last season. His career ERA at AT&T Park is 5.40, but he has pitched just five games there (five innings, three earned runs).This will be a homecoming of sorts for Howry, who began his professional career in the Giants organization as a fifth-round selection in the 1994 Draft. He was traded to the White Sox in the memorable "White Flag" deal on July 31, 1997, and made his Major League debut with them the following season. Howry remembered the trade as a "big shock," adding, "When you're young, I don't think you realize how much of a business the game is." Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that even with Howry aboard, right-hander Sergio Romo will continue to receive late-inning opportunities. Romo excelled in 29 appearances as a rookie last season (3-1, 2.12 ERA).
"Romo has shown that he can help out in the setup role, whether it's the sixth, seventh or eighth inning," Bochy said. "He can give us multiple innings. He's going to fit in nicely."Howry's contract includes $1.5 million in performance bonuses which, if he reaches them, will allow him to approach the $4.5 million base salary he received last season.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.