When a biceps strain forced Angels right-hander Garrett Richards to the 10-day disabled list April 7, there was optimism that he’d return quickly. Now, unfortunately for both Richards and the Halos, he’s in line to sit out at least into the summer. The Angels are moving him to the 60-day DL, per an an announcement from the team.
“His most recent assessment and exam showed mild improvement in biceps strength and also irritation of the cutaneous nerve which is contributing to his strength deficit,” stated the club.
This is the second serious arm injury for Richards since last year, when an elbow issue limited him to just 34 2/3 innings. Richards elected against Tommy John surgery, instead opting for stem-cell therapy treatment, which was successful enough that he was able to take the mound again during the first week of this season. Richards allowed no runs on three hits and a walk in his April 5 season debut against the Athletics, but his biceps strain forced him to exit after only 4 2/3 frames.
As was the case last year, Richards’ prolonged absence should be a serious blow to the Angels’ hopes of contending. The club won a mere 74 games last season and has begun 2017 an ugly 7-11. For the second straight year, the Halos’ Richards-less starting staff hasn’t fared well. Thus far, the group has posted the majors’ fifth-worst ERA (4.35) and eighth-worst FIP (4.18). Ricky Nolasco, Matt Shoemaker, Jesse Chavez, Tyler Skaggs and J.C. Ramirez have taken the mound for multiple starts, while Alex Meyer has made one.
Looking ahead, it’s possible the 28-year-old Richards’ latest issue will put his tenure with the Angels in jeopardy. The team kept Richards via arbitration at a $6.85MM cost this year, but if he’s unable to return in 2017 (or if he shows poorly upon his comeback), he could be a non-tender candidate during the offseason. Richards is due to make his fourth and final trip through arbitration next winter.