After dealing with injuries, the Illinois native is preparing for a bounce back 2024 campaign
SAN ANTONIO – Missions fans will recognize the name Korry Howell. Howell has played in over 100 games for the Missions during the past two seasons. When healthy, the Illinois native is a threat to leave the yard, steal bases and make terrific plays in the field. Debuting in 2018 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization, Howell has yet to play over 100 games in a single season.
Despite injuries plaguing him the last couple seasons, the 25-year-old is holding his head high and is expecting big things for himself in the 2024 season. Missions Director of Public Relations Jeremy Sneed conducted a Q&A with Howell to discuss his childhood heroes, the feeling of getting traded, his love of nachos and much more.
You’re rehabbing in Arizona. Explain how the rehab process is going and how you are feeling heading into the 2024 season.
I tore my labrum towards the end of the season, and I had surgery in October. You’re on the recovery team. The recovery is in full effect. I got a support system here with my family being here. I’m here at the complex and the staff is all here. It’s all hands on deck as far as getting me back and getting things rolling again with my shoulder and making sure I’m full health and full go and make sure my strength is up. It’s been a long offseason. Not being able to pick up a bat, not being able to throw. Not really being able to lift properly. Just slowly getting back into the things. It’s an exciting time shooting for full health and getting ready for the season.
The last couple of years have been sort of injury plagued for you. As an athlete, how frustrating is that to be battling through an injury?
It’s been a long two years since I’ve been a Padre. It hasn’t been the most health-filled time. It’s a rollercoaster of everything over the past two years. Last year in ‘23 was a long season battling injuries. A couple different stints here in rehab [Arizona]. I’m kind of used to it by now. Don’t really want to be, but you are at this point. It was tough. I had my support system all last year. Trying to battle through the season both on the field and off the field mental stuff. If my family wasn’t there, it would have been a lot more difficult than it already was. It ain’t easy being on the shelf every other month. We’re in good hopes. We’re in good spirits about the new year. I’m excited for the upcoming year. I'm excited about the future and excited about getting back. I am excited to be at full health and get the ball rolling again. You can’t play unless you’re healthy.
You’re from the Chicago area. You played at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa. You were drafted by the Brewers. How did you get into playing baseball?
A couple of different things. Growing up, my mom and my dad always wanted us to be outside doing something. Basically, my parents forcing athleticism onto me and my older brother. Another thing, my big brother, he was key to that growing up. Just following him around the neighborhood. My brother played baseball, so I wanted to play baseball. My brother played basketball, so I wanted to play basketball. It was kind of like that growing up until obviously I got good enough to handle my own. Running around him and the other neighborhood kids, just playing a bunch of different sports and being outside and being a nuisance of a little brother. I was able to play on his team in a tournament or two growing up, so that was fun.
Were you Team Cubs or Team White Sox growing up?
I grew up a southsider. I’m a White Sox guy. White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks. I grew up idolizing Juan Uribe and Tadahito Iguchi. I can name the entire  World Series team.
*Favorite players growing up? *
Obviously, the whole White Sox  team. My favorite players on that team were Joe Crede and Jermaine Dye. Those were my guys. Jimmy Rollins is my favorite player of all time. The reason why I wear seven or 11, that’s where I got it from. I’m hoping he gets into the Hall here in the next couple years. When he came to the White Sox, and wore number 11, it came full circle.
Heading into the 2022 season, you’re a prospect with the Brewers, and then you’re a part of the Victor Caratini which sends you to San Diego. How did it feel getting traded and how did you process that?
You never know how it goes down until you’re in it. You see guys get traded all the time. You see guys stop playing baseball for whatever type of reasons. My trade surprised me. It came out of nowhere. It was definitely a whirlwind of feelings in the initial moment because I was on field for an exhibition game. Next thing I know the manager comes over and tells me I’ve been traded. So, I had to get off the field, go pack up my locker, pack up my apartment that I already moved into, and then next thing you know I’m with a whole new organization 24 hours later.
It’s the most chaotic fun in this sport because you never know where you’re going to be on a given day. Anything like that can happen. I was with a whole new organization getting to new different guys, different vibes of the clubhouse and the organization itself. How they see me, where they want me, how I’m going to fit in and if I’m going to fit in. Just trying to navigate that and trying to be yourself at the end of the day in a new organization where nobody knows you. I was excited for the new opportunity. I’m with the Padres now and they’ve treated me well. They’ve given me the space to be myself and play my game. I’m looking forward to the future. This year is going to be huge year. I’m looking forward to getting back on track.
What would you say is your favorite moment of your career so far?
One was getting drafted. That’s something that everyone dreamed of as a kid playing whatever sport that you’re playing. Seeing your name get called or come across the computer screen like I was doing since I was drafted on day three. Seeing your name come across the screen with a team next to it and getting a phone call saying we want you. That’s something that everybody wants is to feel appreciated and to get that kind of admiration for their work. That was one of the best moments of my life. I called my parents right away.
Last year we clinched the first half in San Antonio. We were on the road the year before. That was my first time clinching a playoff run in professional baseball. Popping bottles in the clubhouse and the champagne showers. It was all tarped up. That was a pure moment for sure that I’ve had in pro ball. Honestly, I can’t wait to do that again.
What is your must-have ballpark food?
Nachos! First things first, you got to get some nachos. And if you’re old enough, grab you a nice cold one.
Favorite baseball movie?
My favorite movie of all time just so happens to be a baseball movie...The Benchwarmers. I don’t know why. I can recite it line for line as I’m watching it. My wife rolls her eyes at me every time we watch it. Great movie. It’s an easy watch. You can sit down and watch it any time of the day.
You’ve been known to do both of these things on the field...what is a better feeling, hitting a home run or making a web gem?
Making a web gem. Making a play in the field that you know that 98 percent of the people playing can’t make. Having that ability to go out and do something above and beyond that everybody’s going to see. That’s not normal. Anybody can sneak a home run. You can catch a sneaky home run every now and then. But, to go out and make the play, to save a run, to save your guy, especially the situation. Depending on the situation, that might be the best thing of the day. Maybe it’s the last out, two-out situation, down two, up two, double in the gap and you got to go get this ball. Next thing you know, you take away a double, you make a web gem, everybody’s going crazy, you’re saving the team some runs, you’re saving your guy some runs. I’d say making a play in the field for sure.
Howell’s baseball journey saw him get selected by Milwaukee in the 12th round of the 2018 Draft out of Kirkwood Community College. As a member of the Brewers organization, he was named Midwest League Player of the Month during the 2021 season. Next, he was part of the Victor Caratini trade on April 6th, 2022 that sent him to the Padres. Time will tell what’s next for Howell on that journey.
The Missions 2024 season gets underway on Friday, April 5th on the road against the Amarillo Sod Poodles. The home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9th against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
The San Antonio Missions are the Double-A affiliate for the San Diego Padres. The 2024 season will be the 122nd professional season for the San Antonio Missions. Season seat memberships, as well as group tickets, for the 2024 season are available now. Call 210-675-PARK to discuss pricing for season tickets, group tickets and hospitality. The Missions Box Office is cashless, and fans can purchase tickets using credit cards. For more information, call 210-675-PARK (7275) or visit samissions.com.