J.P. Howell drawing interest from “a handful” of teams

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Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

LHP J.P. Howell, who would like to return, said there are “a handful” of teams interested and wasn’t sure how quickly a decision will come. The Angels may be one.

The Cardinals, who really only need a left-handed reliever, could also be one of those interested teams.

Howell, 29, posted a 3.04 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 50 1/3 innings this past season for the Rays while holding left-handed batters to a .200/.306/.306 slash line. He has a .241/.323/.351 career split against lefties.

Jeremy Affeldt, a fellow southpaw, just signed a nice three-year, $18 million contract with the Giants.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.