Garrett Richards Is Closer To Returning To The Mound

Garrett Richards and the Angels got good news on the stem-cell therapy front on Wednesday. Richards is healing, and nearing a possible return to the mound.

ANAHEIM -- Maybe the best news the Angels have received in quite a long time, came from Dr., Steve H. Yoon. Test results on Garrett Richards from stem-cell treatment showed continued healing in his ulnar collateral ligament.

That's right, Garrett Richards has a chance to throw pitches sometime in 2016.

Angels' GM, Billy Eppler, confirmed the test results from Dr. Yoon, and said Richards will begin 10-14 days test and stress before picking up a baseball. If all goes well, Richards could begin a minor throwing program.

"Instead of sprint, we're gonna walk," said Eppler. "Then we're gonna jog, and then we're gonna sprint."

"I think you can learn a little bit more from testing (the arm), and putting the stress on than you can from throwing 60 feet when you're throwing with 50 or 60 percent effort."

Richards, 28, is on the verge of making a return to the mound, pending how the next two weeks of recovery and testing go. If it goes right, Richards would begin a minor program, and likely pitch competitively somewhere during instructional league, or in the Arizona Fall League.

"I think it's a must," said Richards. "I don't think there's any way that I can not get in into a competitive setting before this season is over. I need to be able to get off a mound and throw 90-95%.

It could be detrimental to the team itself, who are looking towards 2017 with a very thin pitching rotation.

"You still wanna have him be able to end this year, going into the winter, with the feeling of having some questions answered," Eppler said. "Not have to wonder if he's able to pitch."

Though nothing is certain, it is a very large step forward for the Angels' organization.

"Stem cell is a pretty remarkable thing," Richards said. "We're not out of the woods yet, but today was a good day."

Additionally, Eppler confirmed that Nick Tropeano will undergo Tommy John Surgery, in the "near future" after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

This article was written and published by Taylor Blake Ward, Senior Publisher for For more updates on the Angels, their prospects, and transactions, follow Taylor on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.

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