Garrett Richards Elbow Injury Diagnosed as UCL Damage; May Need Surgery

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 05:  Garrett Richards #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 5, 2017 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards underwent an MRI on his right elbow on Wednesday after leaving Tuesday's game against the Seattle Mariners due to injury.

The Angels revealed that no decision has been made on what the next step will be:

#VoteSimba @Angels

UPDATE: Garrett Richards underwent an MRI of his right elbow today in LA. The MRI revealed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament. Garrett was presented with both conservative care & surgical options to treat the injury. An updated plan of care will be provided when appropriate.

Richards left Tuesday's start after just 2.2 innings, having allowed three runs on four hits. L.A. rallied for a 9-3 victory.

When healthy, Richards has been one of the most effective starters in the American League over the past handful of seasons. His most complete campaign came in 2014 when he posted a 13-4 record to go along with a 2.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 164 strikeouts in 168.2 innings.

Injuries are a concern for the 30-year-old right-hander, though. He suffered a torn left patellar tendon during the second half of the 2014 season. He was limited to six starts in 2016 due to a torn elbow ligament. And he spent a lot of time on the disabled list last year with a biceps issue.

This is just the latest injury to the rotation. Shohei Ohtani is also currently unavailable to pitch, so the Angels are now down two of their top arms. Not only that, but Nick Tropeano (right shoulder inflammation), Tyler Skaggs (right adductor strain) and John Lamb (Tommy John surgery) are all currently on the disabled list as well.

Ultimately, Richards has proven he possesses the stuff to provide Los Angeles with a top-flight starter to lead its pitching staff. The inability to stay healthy over the past few years has prevented him from establishing himself among that upper echelon, however.