Angels right-hander Garrett Richards took a big step in his comeback from knee surgery this afternoon, throwing three innings and 44 pitches in an intrasquad game.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that he allowed just one hit, struck out four, and “looks pretty smooth, normal.”
Presumably the Angels will soon clear Richards for an actual spring training game. Barring a setback Richards seems likely to be ready to rejoin the Angels’ rotation at some point in early April and perhaps even by Opening Day.
Matt Wieters’ comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery has hit a snag, as the Orioles–after consulting with Dr. James Andrews–have shut him down from catching due to elbow tendinitis.
For now the team is saying it’s a precautionary move and manager Buck Showalter went so far as to insist it’s not even a setback for Wieters, but his Opening Day status is certainly in doubt.
Wieters is still cleared to serve as a designated hitter and may continue to get at-bats that way, but unless he can catch at least semi-regularly beginning the season on the disabled list seems likely.
Earlier this week the Reds announced that they’re shifting Tony Cingrani to the bullpen–against the left-hander’s wishes–and today they announced that both Raisel Iglesias and Jason Marquis will have spots in the Opening Day rotation.
Iglesias was signed out of Cuba for $27 million last year, but at the time many people viewed him as more likely to be a reliever in the majors. However, he’s impressed manager Bryan Price with eight scoreless innings this spring.
Marquis is a 36-year-old veteran of 14 seasons for eight different teams, but didn’t pitch in the majors at all last year following Tommy John elbow surgery. Before his elbow gave out Marquis pitched reasonably well for the Padres in 2012 and 2013, but he hasn’t posted an ERA below 4.00 since way back in 2004. He’s probably just keeping the spot warm until Homer Bailey is healthy.
Also of note: Cincinnati informed left-hander Paul Maholm that he’s now competing for a bullpen spot, which could mean he’ll opt out of his minor-league contract in the hopes some other team still views him as a potential starter.