Garrett Richards will take the mound for the Los Angeles Angels Friday night at Fenway Park in Boston – his first appearance there since a horrible experience last season.
Richards tore his left patellar tendon on a play covering first base in late August, cutting short his perhaps Cy Young-worthy breakout campaign and depriving the Angels of his pitching down the stretch and in the postseason.
It’ll be hard to not at least recall some of those thoughts during his return when the Angels visit the Red Sox this weekend.
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As Richards told Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register, he doesn’t think about the injury often anymore – since the rigorous and lengthy rehabilitation process he went through helped him contextualize everything: “Every day you are able to come to the field, it’s important to remind yourself how lucky you are to do this,” Richards said. “Going through that, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the game. I put in a lot of work to get here, but at the same time, people can outwork people all the time, but if you don’t have the talent, the drive, you won’t get here.”
That ‘drive’ he speaks of has led Richards to a strong 2015 so far, as he’s returned to his pre-injury form with a 3-2 record and a 2.29 ERA in 39 1/3 innings pitched on the year. He’s flashed brilliance on a few occasions, his deception and high velocity keeping hitters fooled quite often.
Another strong start Friday night would go a long way toward further allowing Richards to move past the grisly injury and continue building as a front-of-the-rotation pitcher.