The Angels just got dealt a potentially-major blow.
Garrett Richards — who has suddenly developed into a legit staff ace this season at age 26 — was transported off on a stretcher Wednesday evening at Boston’s Fenway Park after suffering what looked to be a very serious left knee injury in the bottom of the second inning of his start against the host Red Sox.
Richards was hustling over to cover the first base bag on a potential double play when his legs buckled underneath him. He laid on the ground for close to eight minutes before Albert Pujols and Angels manager Mike Scioscia lifted him carefully onto a cart. All of the Angels players came onto the field as trainers were tending to Richards, and David Ortiz — who wasn’t involved at all in the fateful play — said some words of encouragement to the right-hander before he was taken off. Updates will be coming.
Richards owns a 2.61 ERA in 26 starts this year. Anaheim’s other starters have a combined ERA of 4.04.
The Angels currently hold a one-game lead over the A’s in the American League West standings.
UPDATE, 8:56 p.m. ET: According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, the Angels are calling it a “left patellar knee injury,” but don’t have any more information at this time. Richards will obviously have an MRI.
MLB.com has now posted video of the Richards injury. It’s not a pretty scene …
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.