Garrett Richards takes another step forward

Will Garrett Richards again be the Los Angeles Angels ace in 2017? Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Will Garrett Richards again be the Los Angeles Angels ace in 2017? Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Garrett Richards got more good news today as his latest ultrasound on his injured right elbow showed significant progress. Richards will now be able to move on to the next step in the rehabilitation process which is to do exercises that will  focus on internal rotation of his elbow. This will mimic the pitching motion which will put stress on the elbow to see how it responds.

If all goes well over the next two weeks Garrett Richards will begin throwing by late August and will eventually start throwing bullpen sessions and then in games during the Arizona Fall Instructional League.  The hope is for Richards to be ready by the beginning of Spring Training of 2017 so he can resume the role of staff ace in 2017.  If Richards can return by the start of next season he will provide some much needed stability for a rotation that has been decimated with injuries to three of its top pitchers this season, Richards, Nick Tropeano, and Andrew Heaney. Heaney has already had Tommy John surgery in mid-July and Tropeano decided today to undergo that same procedure instead of opting for the stem cell injection procedure Richards underwent in late May.

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The Angels just got young lefty Tyler Skaggs last week after an almost two-year rehabilitation from Tommy John Surgery and so far he has been brilliant. Skaggs has not allowed a run in 12.1 innings and has 13 strikeouts with only three walks and a WHIP of 0.81. Skaggs, Matt Shoemaker, and newly acquired Ricky Nolasco are the only healthy starters who will be on the roster in 2017.  Richards would make number four if can continue to progress, which means the Angels will either have to opt for a minor-league option such as Nate Smith or newly acquired Alex Meyer as their 5th starter.  The club could also choose to re-sign Jhoulys Chacin, Jered Weaver, or Tim Lincecum to fill that void, but that will remain to be seen.

Back to Richards, the young right-hander was very hopeful when he spoke with Fabian Ardaya of on Wednesday.  “In my gut I felt like I was OK, but again, you don’t know anything until you see an image,” Richards said. “After having it imaged and having the results, I like where it’s at. There’s still work to be done, but it id healing and were moving in the right direction.”

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Richards also added, “Stem cell is a pretty remarkable thing. My body has healed itself, so that’s awesome, but we’re not out of the woods yet. We’ll see what happens moving forward, but today is a good day.”

Next: We got some good news and we got some bad news...

Yes it was! The Angels win on a walk-off home run by Albert Pujols and Garrett Richards is progressing. Hopefully tomorrow will bring even more good news as newly acquired Ricky Nolasco takes the mound as the Angels go for a sweep of the A’s.  Game time 4:05.