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Richards joins Angels, nearing return to rotation

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ARLINGTON -- Garrett Richards joined the Angels at Globe Life Park on Friday and said he feels he's ready to return to the Majors after missing most of the season with an irritated nerve in his right biceps.

Richards, who threw two innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday, is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday and will be evaluated before the Angels determine a plan for inserting him back into their rotation.

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ARLINGTON -- Garrett Richards joined the Angels at Globe Life Park on Friday and said he feels he's ready to return to the Majors after missing most of the season with an irritated nerve in his right biceps.

Richards, who threw two innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday, is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday and will be evaluated before the Angels determine a plan for inserting him back into their rotation.

Full Game Coverage

"I feel good," Richards said. "My stuff feels the same. Velo is there. All my breaking balls are there. I don't really notice any difference. I feel fine."

The Angels have already welcomed left-handers Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney back into their rotation over the last month, and adding Richards would give them another impact arm as they chase an American League Wild Card spot down the stretch. The 29-year-old right-hander has not pitched in the Majors since April 5, when he exited his season debut against the A's with what was initially described as biceps cramping.

Richards threw 40 pitches in his first rehab start and could likely reach the 50-pitch mark in his next outing, according to manager Mike Scioscia. Even though he's not fully stretched out, the Angels would feel comfortable starting Richards in a Major League game because the expanded rosters in September allow them to carry more relievers.

The earliest Richards could pitch for the Angels would be Monday in Oakland, but Scioscia said the club is not committed to anything yet.

"We're going to be flexible right now," Scioscia said. "We're not looking at one decision or another until we get more information."

Richards, for his part, said he's simply grateful to be back on the mound again after missing most of the last two seasons due to arm injuries.

"Honestly, I'm just happy to be playing baseball again," Richards said. "When it's taken away from you, just like last year, you just grow a greater appreciation for the game. I'm just happy to be here."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels, Garrett Richards