With Dan Haren returning to the rotation on Sunday, the Angels had a surplus of starting pitchers in the rotation, and manager Mike Scioscia made the decision to go with Richards as the fifth starter on Tuesday against the Royals, sending Williams to the bullpen. C.J. Wilson will start against Kansas City on Monday.
In his start against the Tigers last Tuesday, Richards pitched seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and four walks, en route to a 13-0 win. It was his first start with the big club since being sent down on July 5 following two starts in which he allowed a combined 17 runs (12 earned) in 8 2/3 innings.
In Williams' start against the Tigers two days later, he surrendered five runs on nine hits and a walk in six innings in a 5-1 loss. It was the fourth time in his last five starts that the right-hander had allowed five runs in an outing.
"I think both guys have things you look at," Scioscia said. "Garrett's not a finished product, but he has that electric arm.
"And with Jerome, there's definitely some things he needs to get back in touch with. The ball's up, it's been flat at times. He's pitched around the zone a little bit, then when he's tried to come after guys, he's been hitting the heart of the plate on bad counts."
Though the Angels have an off-day on Thursday to decide if they want to possibly rotate Richards and Williams in and out of the rotation, Scioscia said if Richards takes his opportunity and rolls with it, there should be no reason to make any changes.
Without the contributions of starters Jered Weaver and Wilson, the Angels starters' ERA jumps from 3.89 to 4.80. Clearly, Scioscia said, the team is going to need to get better pitching from the other three starters if it wants to be ahead of the division-leading Rangers come September.
"There's no way that two-fifths of the rotation is going to get you where you want to be," Scioscia said. "So I think that you have to look at Dan [Haren], you have to look at Ervin [Santana], and hopefully look at something Garrett's going to do in the fifth spot.