After ten days of waiting and biting our finger nails, news came today that Garrett Richards will not have Tommy John Surgery at this time. Instead, the ace will have a stem-cell injection that is similar to what former Angel Bartolo Colon had in 2011, and will rehab his pitching arm.
Richards was off to a great start with a 2.34 ERA / 3.25 FIP / 1.32 WHIP, showing signs he was returning to his 2014 form. The ace had felt fatigue in his pitching arm for a couple of weeks before the club revealed on May 6 that the righty may need to have the procedure to repair damage to his ulna collateral ligament.
This treatment isn’t quite the same as the platelet-rich plasma shot that Andrew Heaney received in late April, and the timetable for recovery is a bit longer, but Richards and the club felt this was the best course of action.
If Tommy John is still needed, however, Garrett will definitely miss all of 2017. And although that is a long recovery, he would still have one more season before hitting free agency. That’s still not exactly encouraging.
For now, Richards will be shut down for six weeks, and will then be evaluated by the club to determine if he will still need surgery, or continue his rehab. If all goes well, Richards could very well pitch again in 2016.