The LA Angels have received good news about three of its pitchers who are close to returning to the team. However, the bad news of Garrett Richards may temper the team’s enthusiasm.
Don’t look now but the LA Angels have four of their last six games against two of baseball’s elite teams this seasons. Last night the Angels rallied from an early three run deficit with nine unanswered runs to beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3.
The victory Came at a cost though as Garrett Richards had to leave the game with irritation in his right forearm and Was found to have UCL damage from an MRI today. Richards has had multiple injuries in thee last couple of seasons including a torn UCL in his elbow in 2016. He decided to forego surgery and opt for platelet rich injections. He was able to comeback at the beginning of the 2017 season, but went on the disabled list in early April with a strained right bicep.
Richards latest injury occurred in the third inning Richards when he threw a pitch to Nelson Cruz that missed badly and his next two pitches had dropped four miles per hour in velocity and he was removed from the game.
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The news is not all bad for the Angels as Tyler Skaggs will come off the disabled list on Thursday to pitch against the Mariners. Nick Tropeano also pitched well in his first rehab start on Saturday and will make one more rehab start this week in the minors. If all goes well he will comeback after the all-star break.
Matt Shoemaker is also making strides and is throwing again. Shoemaker could be close to making a rehab start soon. He will probably need to make at least two or three rehab starts before he will be ready to come back to the Angels. It would be a big lift to the pitching staff is
Skaggs, Tropeano, and Shoemaker can all return soon. It will take some of the sting away from losing Richards again.
Richards will be a free agent at the end of the season and mostly like will not be re-signed by the Angels with this latest injury. It is a sad situation for both Richards and the Angels. Hopefully he will be able to avoid Tommy John surgery, but after going the non-surgical route in 2016, Richards most likely will opt for surgery. We will have to wait and see.
On the positive side Skaggs and hopefully Tropeano will give the staff a lift. The staff going into the stretch run in August and September could potentially be Heaney, Skaggs, Tropeano, Barria, and Shoemaker. While it is not as good as a rotation with Shohei Ohtani and Garrett Richards in it, but it much better than what they have had recently with the likes of Deck McGuire and John Lamb who had a 3-15 record with an ERA near 6.00.
Until Shoemaker is able to return converted reliever Felix Pena will fill the 5th starter spot and he has been up to the task so far going 1-0 with a 2.75 ERA in four starts. If the Angels can get back in the race soon (the next two weeks) you might see them try to acquire a pitcher through a deadline trade. Most likely the Angels will stand pat or unload an expiring contract or two such as Martin Maldonado or Ian Kinsler.
Good luck Garrett, hopefully there will be better days ahead.