Howry hopes to help out in bullpen

Howry hopes to help out in bullpen

CHICAGO -- Bob Howry is hoping he can put together a solid second half with the Cubs beginning now.

The right-hander, whom the Cubs picked up after he was released by Arizona, has done better after the All-Star break, posting a career 3.28 ERA. Before the break, he has a 4.28 ERA.

"I've never tried to think of myself that way -- I always thought I could do it from the beginning," Howry said Tuesday, his first day back at Wrigley Field. "But statistically, it's shown that. If that's the case, it looks like it's ready to turn."

Howry was one of three pitchers who worked out Monday at Wrigley on the team's off-day.

"We'll use him in the middle," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "It gives us some experience. He was working with [pitching coach] Larry [Rothschild] on some things [Monday], working on his split finger. We want him to use that more."

Howry's first two seasons in Chicago in 2006-07 were solid as he appeared in 84 and 78 games, respectively. But he struggled in his third season in '08, going 0-7 with a 5.35 ERA in 72 games.

This year, he had given up 17 earned runs on 18 hits and six walks over 14 1/3 innings for a 10.67 ERA in 14 games with the D-backs.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry talked to Howry before he signed.

"[Hendry] asked me if I thought I had anything left and if I could go out and pitch," Howry said. "I said, 'Yes.' If I didn't, I'd still be sitting at home. If I didn't believe I could come back and be successful, I wouldn't be here."