Garrett Richards to undergo an MRI

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Angels starter Garrett Richards left last night’s start against the Mariners after experiencing right forearm irritation, accompanied by a significant loss in velocity. That’s a pretty scary combo, so the Angels are not taking any chances with him: he’ll undergo an MRI today.

In addition to being a solid starter, whose performance is essential to the Angels’ getting back into playoff contention, Richards is probably the team’s biggest trade chip in the event it is decided that contention isn’t happening. On a personal level it’s Richards’ free agent walk year, so a serious injury would be disastrous for him and the Angels on a number of levels. Not that injuries are new to him: Richards was limited to six starts the past two seasons because of a damaged ulnar collateral ligament and a biceps issue. He avoided Tommy John surgery by getting stem-cell therapy, but the notion that Richards, while good when healthy, is a workhorse left town a long time ago.

Entering play last night Richards had a 3.42 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 15 starts over 73.2 innings. Whether there will be any more play for him this year will be known after the MRI.

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.

Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.

He followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.

Fried, a 29-year-old left-hander, went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.