Chicago Cubs prospect Ed Howard missed most of the 2022 minor league season after suffering a terrible hip injury in early May that required season-ending surgery. However, as we get closer to spring training officially getting underway for the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., there is a great update on Howard’s recovery.
Not only is the shortstop healthy, but according to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, Howard is on track to begin the 2023 season playing in the minors right after spring training ends and the minor league season kicks off in April.
Via The Athletic.
Ed Howard is on target to leave Arizona at the end of spring training and start the season with a minor-league affiliate, according to a source familiar with his rehab program. That would be a big step forward for Howard, who played in 23 games with High-A South Bend last year before suffering a freak hip injury that required season-ending surgery.
This is big news for Howard and the Cubs because there was a scenario where the organization may have thought that they needed to be more cautious with Howard’s return. We’ve seen in the past players stay behind in Arizona for extended spring training when coming back from an injury. So, at least for now it appears as though there aren’t any concerns on Howard being ready right away for the minor league season.
It has been a rollercoaster of a ride for Howard in the last three years to say the least, beginning with his senior year of high school baseball getting wiped away because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that, Howard was still a highly-ranked player heading into the 2020 draft, where he was selected 16th overall by the Cubs. By the time had made his debut in the Cubs’ farm system, Howard hadn’t played in a competitive game since 2019.
Howard, after an entire year off from in-game action, began the 2021 season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at A-Ball as a 19-year-old. His first season in the minors was tough, as Howard slashed .225/.277/.315, in 302 at-bats, with four home runs. Howard had 98 strikeouts to 18 walks in his first 80 games as a pro. Obviously the hip injury was awful because it forced Howard to miss most of 2022, and we now have to see if he can come back with the same athleticism he had prior to the injury, but it looked like Howard was starting to turn the corner right when he suffered the freak injury, too.
Howard’s first nine games in 2022 playing with the South Bend Cubs weren’t good at the plate, but from April 20 through May 10, (14 games) the right-handed hitter went 16-for-50 (.320 batting average) striking out only nine times and drawing five walks.
It’s just going to be good seeing Howard on the field again and hopefully he can get back on track and once again establish himself as a top prospect in the Cubs minor league system.