ANAHEIM — After he pitched off a mound for the first time in more than four months, Garrett Richards confidently made a proclamation.
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that I will pitch for this team, this year,” the Angels right-hander said. “I will get in a regular-season game, at some point this year. I’m confident of that. Whenever that is, I don’t know.”
Richards has been out with a biceps nerve irritation since his first and only start of the season, on April 5. He didn’t even throw until just after the All-Star break, and he didn’t get on a mound until Friday, when he threw 20 pitches, all fastballs.
“The location was actually really, really good,” Richards said. “I had good life on the ball, had some good down angle. I was going 80 percent and the ball was coming out as good as it ever has. It’s encouraging.”
He said he figures he’ll throw another bullpen session on Sunday, increasing to about 30 pitches and adding sinkers. Later in the week, he’ll add his slider.
Richards also said he feels like “today was my first day” of spring training.
Obviously, a normal spring training takes six weeks, which would not leave much season left for him to return. Richards is hoping to come back quicker than that.
“I don’t see why I can’t get back out there the beginning of September or end of August,” he said. “It’s not like I’ve just been sitting around for the last three months. It’s a little different than an offseason. I can just go off how I feel, and I feel great.”
Manager Mike Scioscia said the staff was also “very excited,” but tempered with realism.
“This is just a baby step right now,” Scioscia said. “He’s got a long way to go. … There are some significant hurdles that a player in Garrett’s position right now needs to rise above. He has the potential to. The medical staff is very confident, but we’re going to take this one step at a time and just not rush him or jeopardize what his career is moving forward.”
Cameron Maybin was scheduled to play seven innings in left field on Friday night and nine innings on Saturday for Triple-A Salt Lake City. After that, he’ll be re-evaluated. When he returns, the Angels will have an interesting decision. Maybin has been the starter whenever he’s been healthy, but Ben Revere has been one of the hottest hitters on the team for the past month. “It’ll be a nice issue for us to have, too many guys swinging the bat well,”…