The Los Angeles Angels are 7-2 as spring training rolls on through March. All the projected pitchers have taken the mound for the Angels.
The Los Angeles Angels remain atop of the 2017 Cactus League standings as spring training continues. Over the weekend, Garrett Richards took the mound for his first action of 2017. Richards pitched two innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday and looked decent. The Angels would go on to lose that game 11-3, however, the score isn’t important.
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What is important is the fact that Richards is looking comfortable. Richards pitched two innings, giving up three runs off four hits while striking out two. While normally, those numbers would be concerning, The Angels are focusing on Richards health and not his stats.
The key for the Angels is to ease Richards into game action. Against the Reds, Richards played just two innings. He, along with the other starters, have to find their groove before the season starts. Although, Richards is an advanced case due to his recently healed ulnar collateral ligament he suffered last season.
Mike Scioscia has said at the beginning of camp he intends to limit Richards pitching early this season. As he should, the health of Richards is far too important to gamble on wins. The Angels will need their ace pitcher throughout the season and into the playoffs. Still, it’s important that Richards return to his form before the injury.
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Throughout the season many eyes will be on Richards on the mound and in the clubhouse. I would expect for Richards to take the mound again on the 11th or 12th. One thing is for sure, Richards will likely be named the opening day starter against the Oakland Athletics on April 3rd.
Richards is one of three Angels who suffered injuries that warranted Tommy John surgery last season. However, Richards is the only Angel who didn’t have TJ surgery due to stem-cell therapy. Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano are unlikely to pitch in 2017 are undergoing TJ surgery last season.