After Being on the COVID-19 Diet, Ex-Athletics Manager Art Howe Hungry For Baseball

John Hickey

It’s been a while, but Art Howe is almost down to his playing weight.

The former Oakland A’s manager said Wednesday he was down under 200 pounds “maybe for the first time since I was playing” in a career that ended in 1985.

He doesn’t recommend this kind of weight loss, however. He spent most of last week in a Houston hospital fighting a battle with the COVID-19 coronavirus. He’s back in his Houston home once again, but while he’s getting better, he doesn’t much want to eat anything.

“I haven’t had to go back to the hospital,” Howe said. “I still haven’t wanted to eat much. My taste buds are getting just a tad better. But no matter what it is, you aren’t going to eat when it’s just not enjoyable.”

While he’s not sure where he contracted the disease, he said he suspects it may be been at a doctor’s office. Howe has been battling pain in left leg, the result of neuropathy, and he was getting a series of antibody injections monthly. He said that’s the only place he’d gone without his wife, Betty, and as she hasn’t contracted the disease, he suspects that trip to get antibodies injected may be where the infection took place.

As part of his recuperation, Howe is looking forward to the return of baseball. Speculation is that a shortened spring training will start mid-June with a shortened season beginning the first week of July.

Howe, who spent seven seasons of his 11-year career with the Astros and also managed Houston for five years (1989-1993) before his seven-year stint with the A’s (1996-2002) and two years with the Mets (2003-04), is looking forward to watching a whole lot of baseball as he convalesces.

And he likes the Astros over the A’s in the American League West and doesn’t see anybody else in the division being particularly competitive.

“It’s going to be interesting with the Astros,” he said, “interesting to see how the crowds react with this thing hanging over their heads.”

“This thing” is the sign-stealing scandal that cost general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch their jobs.

“They were getting booed everywhere they went during spring training,” Howe said. “That was the headline before COVID-19. They were getting booed like crazy.

“But they are still the best team in the division. The A’s are a little better (than last year), but the Astros key players – Jose Altuve, the third baseman (Alex Bregman), the shortstop (Carlos Correa) are so good. The rest of the division has weaknesses. Not the A’s so much, they’re pretty good, but the rest of the division.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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