Richards is encouraged by throwing 20 pitches
Garrett Richards dressed in full uniform Friday afternoon and did what he had not done for four months: He stepped on top of a mound and threw. He threw 20 pitches and afterward vowed to keep doing it until it got him into a game for the Angels in 2017.
“I don’t have a doubt that I will pitch for this team this year,” Richards said. “I will get in a regular-season game at some point this year. I’m confident in that. Whenever that is, I don’t know.”
Richards, limited to one April start because of nerve irritation in his right biceps, is short on time to build up his arm strength. He understands that, as he drew a parallel between Friday and pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.
“I feel like I just went through a whole offseason of training, I took my physical yesterday, and today is the first day,” he said. “But my arm definitely feels like it’s in shape, so I’m not worried about that.”
Richards agreed with manager Mike Scioscia, who said earlier this week that the team views the right-hander exclusively as a starting pitcher. Returning as a reliever is not on the table, but Richards left the possibility more open than Scioscia did.
“That’ll probably be something that we decide when it gets closer,” the 29-year-old right-hander said. “If the next couple of weeks go perfectly fine, I don’t see why I can’t get back out there beginning of September, end of August, somewhere in there. It’s not like I’ve just been sitting around for the last three months.”
As he often does, Scioscia cautioned that Richards was still taking baby steps in his recovery.
“There are some significant hurdles that a player in Garrett’s position right now needs to rise above,” Scioscia said. “He has the potential to.”
While throwing his second bullpen session of the week Friday, right-hander Matt Shoemaker felt a twinge in his forearm, where he has been experiencing a nerve syndrome for several weeks.
A team doctor determined Shoemaker has complications related to that syndrome in the radial nerve in his forearm, the Angels later announced. Surgery is an option, they said. Shoemaker’s season appears over.
He has not pitched in a major league game since June 14, and in any game since July 4, when the forearm bothered him during a minor league rehab assignment.
The Angels designated outfielder Ramon Flores for assignment and recalled right-hander Daniel Wright from triple-A Salt Lake to provide bullpen coverage. They will make another move Saturday to accommodate their activation of left-hander Tyler Skaggs, the game’s scheduled starter. … In the first game of his rehab assignment, Cameron Maybin played seven innings in left field for Salt Lake. He had two hits and a stolen base. He’s scheduled to play again Saturday and likely be activated Monday. “It’s that time of year where it’s kind of gotta be a quick turnaround,” he told reporters in Salt Lake City.