TEXAS LEAGUE BASEBALL: Howard eager to build on all-star selection

MIDLAND RockHounds’ Brian Howard has been busy trying to improve on his numbers this season with Midland.
But even he admitted that he was caught off guard when he discovered that he was going to represent his club in the Texas League All-Star Game this year.
“You definitely try and work hard the whole first half and get the numbers up and once those all-star rosters come out you check and hope that you’re on them and hope that your first half was good,” Howard said.
The All-Star game will take place June 25 at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Okla.
The RockHounds’ pitcher, who has compiled a 5-4 record with the Texas League club so far this season, has tried to make as many of his starts count as he can.
“I think just a lot of time, you have to throw the ball and make as many quality starts as you can and get everything going,” Howard said.
Playing at 6-foot-9, Howard is one of the taller players on the RockHounds’ roster and he tries to use his height as an advantage, whenever he can.
But while playing on the league all-star team is great, he’s been eager to improve on his stats for the season.
“It was a certainly a good feeling to get the all start honor,” Howard said. “I was hoping that my first half numbers and the way I pitched would help me get selected. But when you see your name on the list, you still get excited by it.”
In the first half of the season, Howard started in 14 games this season, posting an ERA of 3.33.
He resumed action in the second half of the season, starting in Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Arkansas Travelers.
Despite being credited with the loss, Howard had an ERA of 3.30 after pitching six innings of action, striking out nine and giving up six hits.
Helping the RockHounds to a 34-35 record in the first half of the season and a second place finish in the Texas League South Division standings, Howard knows what he and his teammates need to do to clinch a spot in the playoffs in the second half of the season.
“I think we’re never out of ball games,” Howard said. “I think we have a great offense that we’ve put together and that we never give up.”
“You have to throw the ball well at the right time and you have to be a consistent performer,” Howard said.
His performance so far this season has earned him praise from manager Scott Steinmann.
“Every five days, he’s made a start,” Steinmann said. “He’s a work horse. He makes a play whenever I give him the ball. He’s going to give me a hard time every time I try to take the ball away from him on each pitch. His strength is his competitive nature. He’s got talent and a great competitive nature and that rubs off on our guys.”
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