Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards will reportedly undergo Tommy John surgery and is likely out for the season. 

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Richards Reportedly Tears UCL

Friday, May 6

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported Richards tore his right ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. 

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com added Tommy John is “inevitable” due to the grade of the tear.

Richards Among Angels’ Best Starters 

Richards was one of the Angels’ best starters last year, which is simultaneously an endorsement of the 27-year-old right-hander and an indictment of the team’s starting rotation. According to FanGraphs, the Angels finished 21st in starting pitcher WAR (8.4) and 19th in starter FIP (4.26).

The 2015 season was a bit of a mixed bag for Richards. He failed to capitalize on his breakout 2014 campaign, as his earned run average climbed from 2.61 to 3.65. His 3.3 walks per nine innings were also tied for 12th-highest among qualified starters, per FanGraphs. It’s impossible to ignore his major knee injury in August 2014, though:

There was a good chance he’d bounce back in 2016. Richards didn’t have the benefit of a full offseason to prepare for Opening Day last year, as he was recovering from his injury. That wasn’t a problem this spring.

He pitched 207.1 innings in 2015, and his velocity didn’t register a significant drop—97.1 mph fastball in 2014, 96.1 mph fastball in 2015—following his knee surgery, per Brooks Baseball. Both factors point to his knee surgery playing little role in his performance going forward.

Manager Mike Scioscia has a few different options to replace Richards. Nick Tropeano has starting experience in MLB and would be a good replacement on an interim basis, as would minor leaguer Tyler Skaggs. 

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