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Blue Jays officially release J.P. Howell

Your morning update for everything Blue Jays.

Toronto Blue Jays v St Louis Cardinals - Game One Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Quietly, the Blue Jays officially released J.P. Howell last night, our very own Minor Leaguer reports. Howell was designated for assignment on August 16th.

Howell, in a tumultuous few months with Toronto, pitched in only 16 games and 11.0 innings. He posted a 7.36 ERA (6.32 FIP) and 0.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio while struggling with multiple injuries.

Howell missed two months with an undisclosed shoulder injury and was activated off of the disabled list on July 31st. He was signed to a one-year deal worth $3 million in the offseason.

Pitching six innings and allowing three earned runs in yesterday’s eventual 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays are mutually interested in an extension, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports.

“The player loves Toronto,” one team source told Murray. “The agent says publicly he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Frankly, we are open to extending him.”

Estrada, after being involved in trade rumours with the Kansas City Royals at the non-waiver trade deadline, was claimed by a mystery AL East team (now known to be the Yankees, Murray reports). The Yankees had no intention of completing a trade and simply claimed Estrada to prevent another team from obtaining him.

“Personally, I believe it’s a matter of when, not if,” a source outside the Blue Jays organization told Murray about the possibility of an extension.

The Blue Jays lost 6-5 in 10 innings to the Cubs yesterday afternoon, a painful and disastrous loss. After being down 3-0 in the top of the fourth, Toronto came back to the tie the game and force extras frames. In the top of the tenth, the team scored two, and it was 5-3 with three outs to go.

As we’ve learned this season, we can’t have anything nice. Roberto Osuna induced a groundout and struck out two, but both were dropped third strikes -- and both batters reached. The Cubs eventually won on a single from Alex Avila.

Some reactions to the loss:

  • Marco Estrada: “You’re just in awe. You can’t believe those things are happening.”
  • John Gibbons: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. You gotta win those, We can’t afford to lose those.”
  • Raffy Lopez: “You feel like it’s your fault. Sometimes the game gets the best of you. You just gotta bounce back, learn from it.”

Chicago ended up being a nightmare, as the Blue Jays didn’t win a game. After an off day today, they’ll head to St. Petersburg and play the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game series.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkColley.