Following an off year, Garrett Richards returned to his ace-caliber form in 2016. He came out of the gate hot, posting an excellent 2.34 ERA and a 0.5 HR/9 while averaging nearly a strikeout per inning over his first six starts. Things went south as he left his first May start due to what ultimately was diagnosed as a torn UCL. Richards opted to avoid Tommy John surgery through the use of plasma and stem-cell injections. The 28-year-old even got back to throwing against live hitters in late September and was clocked at 95 mph during his final instructional league outing, which seems to show that he's back at full strength. His control still wasn't outstanding by any stroke of the imagination (3.89 BB/9), but if he can stay healthy while fanning batters at a high clip and keeping the ball in the park, Richards could climb into the league's elite starting pitching echelon. Understandably, the Angels plan to closely monitor his workload in 2017.
Richards made his second start of the spring, tossing 2.1 shutout innings while walking two and striking out four in a loss to the Dodgers. Richards got roughed up a bit in his first Cactus League outing, but he showed that he could still ramp his fastball up to the mid-90s mph mark it was prior to suffering an elbow injury last season. Saturday's start was another step in the right direction for the 28-year-old, exhibiting better command and limiting the Dodgers to just one hit. Richards said that he wants to become a more efficient pitcher with the Angels likely limiting him to 100 pitches per start during the regular season. The impending limit and the alternative treatment for his torn UCL make Richards a risky fantasy option this season. On the flip side, the hard-throwing righty has been an effective fantasy starter in the past, so there is some upside here if everything breaks his way and the price is right.
Richards gave up three runs over two innings with two strikeouts and no walks Sunday in his first outing of the spring. His reached 97 mph with one fastball. "I got excited on a couple pitches, but overall, everything was kind of doing what I wanted it to," he told the Orange County Register. "It's a good one to build [on]." Richards missed the last five months of the 2016 season after being diagnosed with a torn UCL, and he opted to forego Tommy John surgery and instead try stem-cell therapy. It looks like he'll be ready for the start of the regular season, but his pitch counts and innings may be reduced this season to keep him healthy.
Richards (elbow) threw a live batting practice Sunday, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Richards is progressing as anticipated this spring after foregoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow last May and instead receiving stem-cell treatments. While the Angels are proceeding cautiously with Richards' workloads in spring training, it's expected that he'll make his Cactus League debut at some point next weekend.
Richards (elbow) threw his first bullpen session Tuesday and said he felt 100 percent, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. He missed the last five months of the 2016 season after being diagnosed with a torn UCL, and he opted to forego Tommy John surgery and instead try stem-cell therapy. The right-hander is still on track to start the season, but he has said he expects to have a 100-pitch limit this year.
Richards (elbow) agreed to a one-year, $6.85 million contract with the Angels on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. The right-hander missed the final five months of the 2016 season after being diagnosed with a torn UCL. He opted to forego Tommy John surgery and instead try stem-cell therapy. It sounds like Richards is on track to be ready for the start of the year, but manager Mike Scioscia has already said that Richards' pitch counts and innings workload will be monitored carefully.