Garrett Richards and the Angels aren't ready to concede to Tommy John surgery... yet.
After it was reported by numerous outlets and sources that the Angels' ace would need Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament, both Angels GM Billy Eppler and Richards said the pitcher would be seeking a second opinion regarding the severity of the injury and if surgery is required. Officially, Richards has only been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Angels.
'We're going to get another opinion just to kind of confirm what we know right know and that will just help us set a time line and the standard of the care," Eppler said when asked if Richards would need surgery.
In six starts this season, Richards has a 1-3 record but is 10th in the American League with a 2.34 earned run average. Initially, the Angels righty was scratched from his regularly scheduled start today after being pulled early in his last game due to dehydration.
'It's just been kind of the last few weeks, after starts it just kind of hasn't bounced back the way that I hoped it would,' Richards said after being asked when he first noticed the pain in his elbow. 'Obviously, I've still been able to pitch and stuff but I'm a shell of myself.'
Adding to the Angels' pitching woes, starter Andrew Heaney was placed on the 60-day DL with similar pain in his left elbow, although the team is confident as of right now that only rehab is needed.
As the possibility of Richards being out long term looms, and pitchers Tyler Skaggs and CJ Wilson yet to return from injuries of their own, the Angels will likely need to look elsewhere for pitching help. Both Eppler and Angels manager Mike Sciosia have said they'll be looking at options in the team's minor league system and beyond.
In the meantime, Angels' bats will need to awaken to pick up some of the slack. To date, the team is ranked 23rd across baseball in runs scored. Mike Trout has hit six home runs in his last 13 games but slugger Albert Pujols is batting a paltry .198 on the season.
'This club faced a lot of adversity last year. They always seem up for a fight,' Eppler said. 'I always kind of say the qualities of mental toughness are that of a club that is their best under any circumstances and I have a feeling this club is going to play their best under these circumstances.'