The Braves said Howard will report to extended spring training next week then join Triple-A Gwinnett.
Howard, 37, spent 13 seasons with the Phillies before an emotional farewell at the end of last season. He was the last remaining member of Philadelphia’s 2008 World Series-winning team, and the Phillies used a $10 million buyout on his contract this offseason.
The 2006 National League MVP indicated he wasn’t planning to retire, saying during his farewell speech that “I know there’s more in the tank.”
With the Braves, Howard could offer insurance for first baseman Freddie Freeman or serve as a designated hitter call-up for interleague games.
Howard is a career .258 hitter with 382 home runs and 1,194 RBIs. He tied for the Phillies lead in 2016 with 25 home runs but also hit a career-worst .196.
Information from ESPN’s Buster Olney contributed to this report.