Garrett Richards

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Garrett Thomas Richards

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Garrett Richards was taken as a supplemental 1st round pick in the 2009 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Angels. He was signed by scout Arnold Brathwaite and made his pro debut that summer for the Orem Owlz. he was in Class A ball in 2010 and spent 2011 in AA, with the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League. He had a very good season there, going 12-2, 3.15 in 22 games.

Richards made his major league debut with the Angels on August 10, 2011, starting against the New York Yankees. He gave up 6 runs in 5 innings to be tagged with the loss. He pitched seven times for the Angels that season, going 0-2, 5.79. In 2012, he began the season back in the minor leagues, playing for the first time at the AAA level with the Salt Lake Bees in the Pacific Coast League. He made 10 starts, with a record of 5-2, 4.51, before being called back to Los Angeles when ace Jered Weaver was placed on the disabled list. After one scoreless inning of relief on May 30th, he started against the Seattle Mariners on June 5th and earned his first big league victory with a very solid performance: he gave up one run in 7 innings and struck out 8 in a 6-1 win.

Richards recorded his first career shutout on August 4, 2014 when he blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-0; it was also the first complete game of his career and came in the middle of a breakout season. The win improved his record to 12-4. However, he suffered a serious knee injury in a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 20th; in the 2nd inning, he ran to cover first base to complete a potential double play, but collapsed just short of the base and lay on the ground in agony for ten minutes before being carted off the field. The injury ended his season with a record of 13-4, 2.61 in 26 starts. In 168 2/3 innings, he had struck out 164 batters in what was truly a breakout season.

On July 17, 2015, Richards recorded his second career shutout, a 3-0, two-hit win over the Boston Red Sox. It was also his 10th win of the year, as he showed no ill effects form the injury that had ended his previous season prematurely. He made 32 starts during the season, going 15-12, with a 3.65 ERA and pitching 207 1/3 innings. In 2016 however, he made 6 starts, with a 1-3, 2.34 record before being shut down in early May with an elbow injury. It seemed like Garrett would be forced to undergo Tommy John surgery but he chose instead to have a stem-cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow. The treatment seemed to work, as Richards was ready to work without restrictions at the start of spring training in 2017. He made the team and took his first turn as a starter on April 5th, facing the Oakland A's. He pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, but when he had to leave in the 5th, he was rubbing his elbow, giving the Angels a scare that he had re-injured it. However, he later explained that he had only experienced cramping in his biceps and had left as a precautionary measure. Still, he was placed on the disabled list a couple of days later, although again, the Angels stated that this was not because there was anything seriously wrong. However, that story did not hold for long, as on April 22nd, he was transferred to the sixty-day DL with what was described as a right biceps strain. He managed to come back on September 5th, by which time the Angels were in a race for a wild card spot even though they were starved for starting pitching. Facing the A's again, he retired the first seven men he faced and gave up 1 run in 3 1/3 innings in an encouraging performance. He ended up going 0-2, 2.28 in 6 games - all starts - logging 27 2/3 innings.

After those two largely lost seasons, Richards showed up in spring training in 2018 with apparently a clean bill of health. He made 16 starts, going 5-4, 3.66, but missed the second half of June, and after a couple of appearances in July it was learned that he had damaged the ulnar collateral nerve in his pitching elbow. He faced either an extended rest period and stem cell therapy, or another Tommy John surgery and decided on the latter, putting an end to his season. He then signed with the San Diego Padres for the 2019 season and appeared in 3 games, all starts, accruing an 0–1 record with an 8.31 ERA.

He began the 2020 season in the Padres' rotation, but towards the end of the season was moved to the bullpen, finishing with a 2–2 record in 14 games (10 starts) with a 4.03 ERA. He made 4 appearances out of the bullpen during the postseason, allowing two runs in 2 2/3 innings. Richards became a free agent again on October 28th.

On February 3, 2021, Richards officially signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. He made his Red Sox debut on April 4th, taking the loss in a start against the Baltimore Orioles after allowing 6 runs on 7 hits in 2 innings. On June 16th, Richards notched his first MLB career hit, an RBI double off of Atlanta Braves starter Ian Anderson. After compiling a 6–7 record in 22 starts with a 5.22 ERA, he was moved to Boston's bullpen on August 11th, following the return to the team of Chris Sale. He finished the season at 7-8, 4.87, making his final 18 appearances as a reliever. He received credit for 3 saves and struck out 115 batters in 136 2/3 innings. He only appeared once in three postseason rounds that Fall, pitching a third of an inning in Game 1 of the Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, facing one batter after starter Eduardo Rodriguez had been chased in the 2nd inning of a 5-0 loss. Nick Pivetta, normally a starter, then took over to start the 3rd, and Richards was not heard from again for the remainder of the postseason. He made it clear during the season that his struggles were due to Major League Baseball cracking down on the use of foreign substances used by pitchers to enhance their grip on the baseball, of which he had been a regular user.

It took Richards until March 20th to find a team for the 2022 season. It was the Texas Rangers who signed the veteran righthander to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2015)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (2015)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Maria Guardado: "Richards' UCL damaged again, MRI reveals: Angels righty weighing options, including Tommy John surgery",, July 11, 2018. [1]
  • Kennedi Landry: "Rangers add RHP Garrett Richards as relief option",, March 20, 2022. [2]

Related Sites[edit]