Richards cleared to begin throwing program

Angels righty will need six to eight weeks before taking the mound

Richards cleared to begin throwing program

ANAHEIM -- Since landing on the disabled list in April, Garrett Richards' injury status had remained stagnant, as he waited for his irritated nerve in his right biceps to heal enough for him to resume throwing. But Richards' recovery finally took a step forward Friday, when he was cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Richards has played catch for the last two days and remains in the embryonic stages of his rehab, but the development is nonetheless an encouraging sign for him and the Angels.

"Everything feels fine," Richards said Saturday. "It's good."

Richards, who missed most of the 2016 season while recovering from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, dominated the A's in his season debut on April 5 before departing in the fifth inning with a biceps cramp. That cramp was later found to be nerve irritation, which prevented the 29-year-old right-hander from picking up a baseball for more than three months.

Because of his long layoff, Richards will require at least six to eight weeks of throwing before he's ready to take the mound for the Angels. There remains a possibility that he will be able to pitch in the Majors again this season, though manager Mike Scioscia cautioned that Richards is still facing a long road to recovery.

"Any time you're allowed to start throwing, it's a step in the right direction," Scioscia said. "But he's a long way away."

Shoemaker update

Right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who was diagnosed with posterior interosseous nerve syndrome and received a cortisone injection on July 6, still has not resumed throwing, though he's hopeful that he will receive clearance in the coming days. Shoemaker, whose prognosis called for a shutdown period of seven to 10 days, has not thrown in nine days.

Shoemaker suffers setback

"I'm fine," Shoemaker said. "Trying to stay as mentally positive as possible. It's more frustrating than anything."

Shoemaker said he began to feel the nerve in his right forearm flare up during the second inning of his rehab start with Class-A Advanced Inland Empire on July 4.

"The game was overall good," said Shoemaker, who tossed three scoreless innings in the rehab outing. "The first inning was really good. After that, stuff was still good, but my stuff was different. Velocity was lower, stuff came out different. And later that night is when I started feeling symptoms."

Shoemaker said the Angels have not discussed a timetable for his return, though he's not anticipating a lengthy rehab once he's cleared to begin a throwing progression.

"If everything is good to go, I don't see it being that long," Shoemaker said.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Parker Bridwell will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday to start the Angels' series finale against the Rays. After Monday's off-day, Jesse Chavez will face the Nationals on Tuesday. He'll be followed by Ricky Nolasco on Wednesday.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.