Richards leaves with right forearm irritation

Right-hander scheduled to have MRI on Wednesday

July 11th, 2018

ANAHEIM -- The Angels rallied to defeat the Mariners, 9-3, on Tuesday, but the night was sullied by an early exit from right-hander .

Richards departed his start in the third inning with right forearm irritation and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday. It's troubling news for Richards, who missed most of the 2016 season with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but avoided Tommy John surgery by undergoing stem-cell therapy.

"It's tough," right fielder said. "We're just kind of hoping for good news tomorrow. He's been battling for the better half of a couple years. Hopefully everything comes back all right."

Richards, 30, retired the first two batters he faced to start the third, but he missed badly with a first-pitch slider to and then fired two fastballs that were clocked at 92.2 and 92.8 mph, a notable drop from his 96.4 mph average this season. Team trainer Adam Nevala and manager Mike Scioscia came out to check on Richards, and he exited the game after a brief discussion on the mound.

"You could just see that the ball just wasn't coming out of his hand the way we know it can," Scioscia said. "Obviously, we'll just let the medical staff give us direction. He'll have a study done tomorrow. We'll see what's going on."

Richards gave up three runs on four hits -- including a three-run home run to Mitch Haniger in the first inning -- over 2 2/3 innings. It was his second start since returning from the disabled list. He missed three weeks after sustaining a left hamstring strain last month.

While Richards has struggled with injuries over the last few years, he is one of the most talented pitchers on the Angels' pitching staff when healthy. The club's slim playoff hopes will likely shrink even further if he misses considerable time.

Richards, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, might be the Angels' most attractive asset if they decide to sell at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, particularly given the paucity of quality starting pitchers available this summer. Richards might be able to bolster his value with a few strong starts this month, but that's if he's healthy enough to be on the mound.