Angels RHP Richards to have Tommy John surgery

Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards will have Tommy John surgery to repair damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, he told reporters Thursday.

The surgery, which will happen later this month, will likely keep him from pitching again until 2020.

“I’ll be back,” Richards said Thursday. “I’ll be ready. Everything will be fine. I’ll get through this. I’m going to be positive about this. I’m not going to dwell on the negative stuff. This is what was presented to me, and this is what I’ve got to deal with. Just try and tackle it.”

Richards, 30, was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday after an MRI exam revealed damage to his right UCL. He exited Tuesday’s start against the Seattle Mariners in the third inning with what the team called forearm irritation.

The Angels said Wednesday that Richards was presented with both conservative care and surgical options to treat the injury.

The timing of the injury and expected surgery complicates the potential market for the eight-year veteran, who will become a free agent after this season.

“Obviously you think about it,” Richards said of hitting free agency. “I think just by going in and getting it done, getting past it, knowing that this thing is repaired and ready to go — not only for peace of mind for me but for whoever wants me to play for them as well. I just want to get back to competing and doing what I do.”

In 16 starts this year, Richards went 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA.

He opted not to have Tommy John surgery when faced with a partial UCL tear in May 2016. He instead received stem-cell injections, returning to the team at the start of 2017 rather than missing an entire year as Tommy John rehab typically requires.

However, Richards sustained nerve irritation in his biceps in his 2017 debut and was out of action for the Angels for five months.

The injuries haven’t been limited to Richards’ arm, as he was recently sidelined for three weeks with a left hamstring strain before he came off the DL on July 4. His 2014 season was also ended prematurely by a torn patellar tendon in his left knee.

For his career, Richards has a 3.54 ERA in 170 games (115 starts). Prior to this year, he last started more than 10 games in a season in 2015, when he took the mound 32 times and threw a career-high 207 1/3 innings.

Elsewhere, the Angels activated left-hander Tyler Skaggs from the DL and optioned right-hander Jaime Barria to Class-A Inland Empire.

Skaggs, who turns 27 on Friday, was placed on the DL on July 4 retroactive to July 1 with a right adductor strain. He is 6-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 16 starts this season.

–Field Level Media

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