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Efficiency key for Richards' successful return

March 26, 2017

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels right-hander Garrett Richards pitched six innings in his Minor League start against the Rockies on Sunday, and said he's pleased with where he stands heading into the final week of Spring Training.Richards allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits while walking none and striking out

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels right-hander Garrett Richards pitched six innings in his Minor League start against the Rockies on Sunday, and said he's pleased with where he stands heading into the final week of Spring Training.
Richards allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits while walking none and striking out four in the 69-pitch outing.
"Everything was pretty sharp today," Richards said. "I'm just trying to carry some momentum into the season. My arm feels pretty good right now, and I'm bouncing back nicely. I'm starting to be able to repeat innings, so I'm just kind of carrying that momentum into the year."
Richards, who is coming off stem-cell therapy to treat a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, is expected to face workload restrictions in his first season back from injury, which has prompted him to focus on becoming more efficient this spring. He said he is now throwing at 85 percent effort, and has managed to remain effective.

"I feel like I still have the same life on my ball and everything is still the same, but I'm more efficient," Richards said. "I'm ahead, 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, a lot more than I usually am, and I'm not walking anybody.
"If I throw at 85 percent, I'm able to repeat my mechanics better," he added. "I'm able to keep everything moving down the hill toward the catcher. Because I throw across my body, direction is a big thing for me. If I can eliminate a little bit of effort and keep everything moving in a straight line, it's going to be good for me."
Richards said he will make his final exhibition start Friday against the Dodgers in the Freeway Series, which means he is unlikely to be on the mound when the Angels face the host A's on April 3 in their season opener. The Opening Day nod is traditionally reserved for a team's top starter, but the Angels do not seem to be following convention this year.

The Halos have not officially set their rotation for the first week of the regular season, but right-hander Matthew Shoemaker is currently lined up to start on Opening Day, followed by Tyler Skaggs, Richards, Jesse Chavez and Ricky Nolasco.
Richards, 28, said he does not know his pitching schedule beyond Friday.
"I'm not the only one that doesn't know what's going on," Richards said. "We're all kind of up in the air. I don't know anything as of right now, but I'm scheduled to throw on Friday."
Worth noting
• The Angels reassigned infielder Matt Williams to Minor League camp Sunday. They now have 40 active players in Major League camp.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.