Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Draft Pick Gives Back As Career Begins

CLEVELAND -- Dillon Howard and his family are eager for the right-handed pitcher to toe the rubber as a member of the Cleveland Indians' organization. Before he realizes his dream, however, he just has one stop to make: a trip to the dentist's office.
Howard has a Wednesday appointment to have all four of his wisdom teeth removed, a painful step before he begins a pitching regimen as a professional baseball player.
"He'll do a long-toss program down in Mahoning Valley, and then we'll have him up on the mound in the instructional league," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting.
The Indians selected Howard in the second round (67th overall) of June's First-Year Player Draft. The right-handed pitcher posted a 9-1 record and 0.31 ERA in 12 starts during his senior season at Searcy High School in Searcy, Ark. He allowed just two earned runs in 58 innings, striking out 115.
Howard said he contemplated whether he was mature enough to begin a professional career at the age of 19 before he agreed to a contract with the Indians.
Howard is donating a portion of his signing bonus to the Cleveland-based Milestones Autism Organization, founded in 2003 "to promote life-long strategies of success for individuals with autism, from childhood through adulthood," according to the organization's website. Howard decided it was the perfect organization to contribute to when he noticed a small baseball icon on its website.
Howard's brother, Ben, who is beginning his freshman year of high school, was diagnosed with autism just a few months after he was born

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