Angels ace Garrett Richards tossed a simulated inning against live hitters on Wednesday, writes Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. The injured Halos ace reported that he felt good while warming up and while on the mound, where he threw 20 pitches, including fastballs, curveballs and sliders. Richards was diagnosed with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament back in May but has been undergoing stem cell treatment in hopes to avoid Tommy John surgery, knowing that if he’d simply undergone TJ back in May, he’d have been a long shot to contribute much in 2017 anyhow. If he’s able to successfully avoid the procedure via the stem cell treatments, then Richards could conceivably contribute to the Halos for much, if not all of the 2017 campaign. Per Fletcher, he’ll head to the instructional league and make three appearances there, building up to 50 pitches before followup testing to determine whether he can have a normal offseason and be expected to pitch next year.
More from the AL West…
- Wednesday likely marked Doug Fister’s last start as a member of the Astros, writes Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, noting that the impending free agent’s September was a dreadful month. Houston lost each of Fister’s final seven starts, Kaplan points out, and the righty surrendered 30 earned runs across 24 innings in his final month of the year (11.74 ERA). That’s hardly the note on which any pitcher wants to end a season, especially when things had been going fairly well for him for much of the season. Fister carried an ERA in the mid-3.00s throughout the entire summer but will conclude his 2016 campaign with a 4.64 ERA in 180 1/3 innings as he looks to improve upon the one-year, $7MM pact he signed with the ’Stros last winter.
- Rangers manager Jeff Banister said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM earlier today (Twitter link) that Shin-Soo Choo’s rehab has been “accelerated,” and the outfielder could join the club this weekend to get a look prior to determining postseason rosters. Choo has been sidelined since mid-August due to a fractured forearm sustained upon being hit by a pitch.
- Mariners rookie first baseman Dan Vogelbach has already begun seeking out the coaching staff to ask for extra lessons and extra work on his defense, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Vogelbach, considered a bat-first prospect and labeled by some scouting reports as a future designated hitter due to his defensive limitations, candidly acknowledged to Dutton that he’s aware of how much work he needs to on his glove. “It’s definitely something I’m taking seriously, because it’s something I need to improve,” said Vogelbach, who sought out bench coach Tim Bogar for advice on his positioning and footwork. “…I’ve been doing it the wrong way for so long that now I’m making the correct muscle memory. Getting it to be a natural habit.” Vogelbach indicated that he plans to spend the offseason working on improving with the glove and, as Dutton points out, doing so could very well line him up to be Seattle’s first baseman next season, as both Adam Lind and Dae-ho Lee are free agents.