No shortcuts to get Garrett Richards back as a reliever – Orange County Register

ANAHEIM — As Garrett Richards continues to take steps toward a return, even as the days on the schedule melt away, the Angels have not entertained the idea of using him out of the bullpen to get him back sooner.

“No plan with that,” Manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. “I think he’s a starter. You are thinking about his career too. I think it would be the wrong move to put him in the ’pen, and put more stress on his arm than he’s used to.”

Richards didn’t throw at all for about three months, while recovering from a biceps nerve irritation. He’s been throwing now for about three weeks, and could be moving to throwing off a mound any day now.

To build Richards up to the point that he could throw 100 pitches in a major league game might take more time than the remaining schedule allows. However, there are also risks to trying to get him back earlier by preparing him for the shorter outings of a reliever. Although relievers throw fewer pitches, their workload is unpredictable and uneven, which can create even more stress for a rehabbing pitcher than starting.

Asked if there’s time to get Richards back to start, Scioscia was noncommittal.

“We’ll take it one step at a time,” he said. “Let’s get him off a mound and see where he is.”

HEALING HITTERS

Cameron Maybin (sprained knee) will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Salt Lake City on Friday, and play at least two games there, Scioscia said. The earliest Maybin could return would be Sunday, but more likely he would be back in the Angels’ lineup on Monday.

Kole Calhoun (tight hamstring) ran at 100 percent in a workout before Thursday’s game. He is expected to be back in the lineup on Friday.

Yunel Escobar (back) still needs to go through a full workout on the field before he can play, although Scioscia didn’t rule out him returning as soon as Friday.

PITCHERS TOO

Matt Shoemaker (forearm) is expecting to throw an extended bullpen session on Saturday or Sunday, including breaks to simulate multiple innings. Shoemaker was feeling good last month, but his symptoms returned when he threw multiple innings in a Class-A game, so the Angels are trying to simulate that before moving forward with him.

Alex Meyer (shoulder inflammation) played light catch for about six to eight minutes on Thursday, his second such session this week.

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