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.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.