According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto told him that they are “optimistic” about Garrett Richards current recovery process from the torn left patellar tendon he suffered in August. At the moment, there is some hope that Richards could be ready for opening day, and if not early April which is the current targeted return date for the 26-year-old righty.
Last month Angels manager Mike Scioscia, when speaking with reporters, told them that they didn’t expect Richards to be back until sometime in May, so it seems as if the timetable could easily change again as we inch closer to spring training. 2014 was a breakout year for Garrett Richards, who played a big part in the Angels making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. In 26 starts, Richards would register a strong 2.61 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, while almost averaging 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. It was his first season in which he got a chance to start exclusively and he shined in the new role proving why he was regarded as a top prospect when coming up through the Angels minor league system. If Richards can get healthy and keep these numbers up, he’ll easily become one of the top young pitchers in the league for a team that already has the best young position player.
When Garrett went down against the Red Sox in late August, it really hurt their chances of them going deep in the playoffs because at the time he was their best pitcher on the staff. It would be smart for the Angels not to rush Richards back too quickly because if he returns and isn’t anything close what he was last year, that pitching rotation could be in some trouble. At the moment, Garrett’s recovery process has advanced to the point where he is throwing from 150 feet. The road up to opening day will be hectic for Garrett, so it would be smart to keep an eye on him through spring training to see if he can beat the odds and be ready come the start of another long baseball season.