The Angels announced tonight that right-hander Garrett Richards exited tonight’s start due to irritation in his right forearm. He’ll undergo an MRI tomorrow to further evaluate the injury.
It’s the latest in a seemingly ceaseless line of injuries to an Angels pitching staff that has struggled to stay healthy over the past several seasons. Richards himself only recently returned from a hamstring injury and was making just his second start since being reinstated from the disabled list.
Any serious injury to Richards would be impactful to the Angels on multiple levels. First and foremost, he’s among the team’s most talented options in the rotation and is in the midst of a solid season, having pitched to a 3.68 ERA with 10.3 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9 and a 49.3 percent ground-ball rate through 76 1/3 innings.
Beyond that, the Angels are buried 14.5 games back in the American League West and are a similarly daunting 11 games back from an American League Wild Card spot (though they’re poised to move up a game in those standings with a late lead over Seattle at present). If the team can’t put together a significant winning streak in the coming weeks, GM Billy Eppler and his lieutenants may very well be forced to sell off some short-term assets and begin looking toward 2019. Richards would be among the team’s best trade chips with the deadline looming, but this latest injury calls even that possibility into question.