Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced before Tuesday's series opener against the Yankees that the club will call up the 23-year-old right-hander to start Wednesday's game in the Bronx in place of struggling pitcher Joel Pineiro, who has been moved to the bullpen. Richards is currently the fourth-best prospect in the Angels system, according to MLB.com.
With Pineiro demoted and ace Jered Weaver serving a six-game suspension, the Angels are forced to rely on their second rookie starter of the year, having also called on Tyler Chatwood this season.
"I think it's great," Scioscia said of Richards' opportunity. "I think it's a great challenge for a youngster. We think he's going to pitch his game. If he can come into an atmosphere like Yankee Stadium and pitch a good game, you know how much confidence you can take away form that?"
Scioscia said the team would wait until Wednesday to announce a corresponding roster move.
"We have an idea of which way we'll go, but you never know how you'll come out of a game," Scioscia said.
Richards has turned heads at Double-A Arkansas, racking up 100 strikeouts in 141 innings, though he has occasionally battled command issues, walking 40. He also owns a 12-2 record and a 3.06 ERA.
Scioscia said on Tuesday that he can't say "if it's going to be one start or 10 starts," but the team would be open to a variety of possibilities with the youngster.
"We'll see where this leads, but we'll be fluid here until we get an indication of exactly which direction we're going to be going," Scioscia said.
There was talk of the Angels possibly taking a piece from their bullpen -- namely left-hander Hisanori Takahashi -- but Scioscia said, in the end, that would prove to be too much of a disruption.
"If it was one start and we were filling with somebody who is on our team right now, the disruption would have been real," the Angels skipper said. "It would have set us back for a while."
Richards, out of the University of Oklahoma, was a compensation pick of the Angels in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He was a Texas League All-Star this season with the Travelers.