ANAHEIM — The baby steps have begun for Garrett Richards.
Richards, who has been out for more than three months with a biceps nerve irritation, has been cleared to begin activating his arm.
Richards played light catch for the second day on Saturday.
“Anytime you are allowed to start throwing, it’s a step in the right direction, but he’s a long way away,” Manager Mike Scioscia said.
Richards is expected to need 6-8 weeks of throwing before being able to pitch in a major league game. There are 11 weeks to go in the season.
“I’m staying optimistic,” Richards said. “I’m going to take it one day at a time and go from there.”
WHO’S ON SECOND?
Danny Espinosa was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game, the first time this season that he’d started on the bench that many games in a row. At this point, Espinosa is only starting against left-handed pitchers. His last seven starts have been against lefties. He hasn’t started against a righty since June 25.
Nick Franklin, who was acquired two weeks ago, has been getting more time at second. Cliff Pennington started at second on Saturday night.
Franklin is hitting .186 with a .564 OPS, including .133 and .483 in 20 plate appearances with the Angels. Espinosa is hitting .162 with a .513 OPS. Pennington was hitting .241 with a .610 OPS before Saturday’s game.
“We need guys to get in their game,” Scioscia said. “What we’re looking for is any kind of production we’re going to get, whether it’s on-base percentage or driving the ball, whatever it may be from that position. We need to start getting it. We’re trying to give some guys an opportunity to see if they can contribute.”
Scioscia was also asked about Kaleb Cowart, who was hitting .304 with an .843 OPS at Triple-A. Cowart is a third baseman who has been learning second. He’s played 29 games at second this season at Triple-A.
Scioscia said Cowart is “the most comfortable he’s ever been in the batter’s box” and at second base “he’s made a lot of progress.”
Matt Shoemaker said he’s hoping to start throwing in a few days. Shoemaker has been shut down since getting a cortisone injection last week. He is out with a nerve issue in his forearm. He said once he’s cleared to throw, he hopes it won’t take him long to be back in the majors. “Probably a week of throwing, then bullpens and a game,” he said…
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