OAKLAND -- Though he currently resides in the Minor Leagues, 24-year-old right-hander Garrett Richards could still prove to be an important piece for the Angels going forward this season.
But the team received some potentially worrisome news when Richards was forced to leave his start on Monday for Triple-A Salt Lake after just three innings because of left knee soreness.
The right-hander tweaked his knee when running to cover first base, and was lifted as a precaution. The knee was feeling better after the game, but it remains to be seen how severe the injury is.
"When a pitcher has to come out of game, obviously there's a concern, but we'll wait until we get some more information to see exactly what's going on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on Tuesday.
Richards has had two stints with the Halos this season and was just sent down last Thursday so the team could add some bullpen help in the form of David Carpenter. He's an important option should one of the team's current starters have to miss a start, or if Ervin Santana continues to struggle enough to warrant his removal from the rotation.
Overall, Richards is 3-2 with a 4.33 ERA in nine big league starts and 10 total appearances this season.