Angels starter Garrett Richards left last night’s start against the Mariners after experiencing right forearm irritation, accompanied by a significant loss in velocity. He underwent an MRI today and the results were not good: he has a partially-damaged ulnar collateral ligament.
That is often a one-way ticket to Tommy John Town. But not always. Indeed, Richards himself had this same sort of injury a couple of years ago but opted instead to undergo stem cell replacement therapy, avoiding the knife. It worked to a point in that he did come back and has, when he has been healthy, pitched effectively, but he has suffered other injuries since, limiting him to 28 starts over the past three seasons combined. If Richards were to have that reconstructive elbow procedure, he’d miss the rest of the 2018 season and most if not all of the 2019 campaign. Horrible timing for him considering he’s a free agent following this season.
Richards has a 3.66 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 87/34 in 76.1 innings across 16 starts in 2018.
Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.
Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.
Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.