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Richards improves in second outing of spring

Righty throws 2 1/3 scoreless frames, rebounds from poor outing
MLB.com @DougMillerMLB

PHOENIX -- Garrett Richards was right where he wanted to be in Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Dodgers.

The right-hander, who is likely to be the Angels' Opening Day starter, made his second outing of the spring a much better performance than his first. He went 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, striking out four batters and giving up a hit.

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PHOENIX -- Garrett Richards was right where he wanted to be in Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Dodgers.

The right-hander, who is likely to be the Angels' Opening Day starter, made his second outing of the spring a much better performance than his first. He went 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, striking out four batters and giving up a hit.

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Richards walked two hitters to begin the third inning, but got rescued from damage when reliever Eduardo Paredes got a double-play ball off the bat of Joc Pederson to end the frame.

Richards suffered a partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament last May, but opted for a stem-cell injection rather than Tommy John surgery. He seemed encouraged by his 48-pitch stint, particularly after his spring debut, when he gave up three runs on four hits in two innings.

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Richards on his stem cell choice

"I was able to command the zone a little bit better," Richards said. "For me right now, I'm just trying to throw as many strikes as possible, and just kind of let my ball do what it naturally does. So this outing, I just wanted to go out and really command the fastball, and get ahead in counts.

"I threw some really good breaking balls today. Today was a good day. In the third inning, the long sit in between innings, I think, affected me a little bit. I lost my feel for a couple of batters, but all in all this was a good one to build off of."

Richards has said he's expecting to be held to a 100-pitch limit in his regular-season starts throughout 2017, but it's not on his mind right now.

"When the game starts, I'm not sitting there going, 'Well, I have to throw 12 pitches an inning,'" Richards said. "It's just another thing in the back of my mind that reminds me that I need to be efficient and attack the zone. I only have 100 pitches a game or so to work with, and if I plan on going deep into games, then I need to catch more of the plate with my ball."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia was impressed.

"I thought he was in the zone a lot, struck a lot of guys out early," Scioscia said. "I think he was very comfortable out there. His stuff was live today."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

Los Angeles Angels, Garrett Richards