When the Padres signed erstwhile Angels ace Garrett Richards to a two-year, $15.5MM deal in December, expectations were that Richards would return in time to lead their young staff in 2020–and, if everything broke right in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, that Richards might squeeze in a few September frames. Apparently, that vision is coming into focus now, as the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee reports that Richards is expected to take the ball in his club’s matchup with the Brewers on Monday (link). “Getting him healthy on the mound, competing at the big-league level is going to set him up for success next year,” Padres manager Andy Green told Acee. “We look at it like get him on the mound, make sure he knows going into the offseason he’s ready to go and he doesn’t have a question in the back of his mind — that he’s stared down a few major league lineups and he’s been back on the big stage and he’s ready to go.”
Though Richards will be limited to 60-65 pitches on Monday, it will surely be a welcome sight for a San Diego team short on battle-tested rotation options. Aside from Richards, the club will be heading into 2020 with a collection of starters who remain largely unestablished. Though fronted by impressive rookie Chris Paddack, San Diego’s current rotation features recent returnees from injury (Dinelson Lamet), unproven projects (Ronald Bolanos), and stagnating sophomores (Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi). Though the 31-year-old Richards, who has been limited to 138 2/3 frames since the beginning of 2016, could hardly be called a rotational stalwart, he did hold a 3.15 ERA over his last five seasons of pitching–a number which was good enough for third-lowest in the American League during that timeframe.
More notes from just right of the Pacific…
- Angels outfielder Mike Trout was out of today’s lineup as he continues to deal with a foot issue, and MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger relays that the MVP candidate will likely be limited to DH duty in the immediate future (link). Trout underwent a procedure to address a neuroma in his foot last week, and his continued presence in the Los Angeles lineup is largely a question of pain tolerance. The Angels have already been eliminated from playoff contention, but Trout will, hopefully, be able to return to action–if only to stave off a possible MVP run from players like DJ LeMahieu and Alex Bregman.
- Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty is ramping up activity, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser reports that Piscotty, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury since Aug. 25th, was taking batting practice with the team today (link). He had better hurry in his recovery–Oakland entered play today with just a .5-game lead for the top spot in the American League Wild Card race. Piscotty, 28, holds a .252/.312/.416 slash this year in 389 plate appearances, representing roughly league-average offensive output (95 wRC+).