Garrett Richards out with damaged UCL, weighing Tommy John option

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards has damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, an MRI revealed Wednesday, and is currently weighing surgical and conservative care options.

Richards threw just 2 2/3 innings before catcher Martin Maldonado noticed something was bothering the righty and asked manager Mike Scioscia and an Angels trainer to evaluate the 30-year-old on the mound in Tuesday’s game. Richards immediately walked off the mound and after 10 seconds in the dugout he retreated into the clubhouse.

Richards start Tuesday was just his second since returning from a stint on the 10-day disabled list for a hamstring strain. Prior to that injury, he had been holding down the Halos No. 1 starter role with a 3.42 ERA to go along with 78 punch outs.

The SoCal native has been injury plagued throughout his career: he suffered a torn left patellar tendon in 2014, a torn UCL in 2016 and was off-and-on throughout last season with a lingering biceps issue.

While UCL injuries frequently require Tommy John surgery to be fully repaired, Richards is looking at other potential options, according to the Angels. Shohei Ohtani, who was diagnosed with a grade 2 UCL sprain underwent biometric treatment as his form of recovery in early June and is expected to be reevaluated in a few weeks to see if he will be able to pitch again this season.

With Richards on the 10-day DL, the Angels have called up righty Deck McGuire and they are also expecting to have Tyler Skaggs back in the lineup as soon as Thursday, Scioscia said.