08 April, 2017
Richards missed the final 137 games last season with a partial tear of his ulnar collarteral ligament in his right elbow. He followed up that season by pitching over 200 innings for the first time while going 15-12 with a 3.65 ERA in 32 starts, then had a 2.34 ERA in six starts a year ago before being shut down for the season.
Frankie Montas - who arrived in the same trade as Cotton - pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in his A's debut. Prior to his elbow injury, Richards flashed no. 1 starter stuff and stats (3.18 ERA 2014-15 combined).
That night, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said there were no plans for Richards to undergo an MRI examination, but general manager Billy Eppler said the next day that one had been scheduled for Friday. Rather than go the conventional route of Tommy John surgery, Richards opted for the procedure that would shelf him just for the remainder of 2016, allowing him to come back and be ready for Opening Day 2017.
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For the evening, anyway, the Angels took the more encouraging news and ran with it, along with what looked to be an impending victory over the A's. He was effective before exiting with four strikeouts and three hits allowed against the Oakland A's. He surrendered five straight baserunners - and three runs - including an RBI double to Andrelton Simmons and a two-run single to Danny Espinosa.
Meanwhile, the Angels' bullpen was picking up the slack for Richards. Manager Bob Melvin said he tried to throw a second pitch and was still feeling.
"It was the first time to have nerves and adrenaline in nine months, so it was a good thing to have, for sure", Bassitt said.