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.