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Angels turning to LeBlanc with Richards out

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BOSTON -- In a way, Garrett Richards and Wade LeBlanc are tied together.

It was LeBlanc who saved the bullpen in Oakland on May 29, providing 6 1/3 innings of four-run ball immediately after Richards gave up five runs in the bottom of the first.

Now LeBlanc will get the first crack at Richards' suddenly vacant rotation spot.

The 30-year-old lefty was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday to potentially provide some length out of the bullpen over the next couple of games and to start on Monday against the Marlins. LeBlanc went 10-3 with a 4.00 ERA and a 3.14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

"Guys in the organization are very pleased with the way he's throwing the ball," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's got a chance to come up here and shut a team down by mixing and matching and changing speeds."

LeBlanc accumulated 424 1/3 innings in the big leagues from 2008 to 2014, going 20-32 with a 4.56 ERA. After he appeared in that May 29 game at O.co Coliseum, the Angels -- in need of fresh arms for a tired bullpen -- designated him for assignment and watched him get claimed by the Yankees.

LeBlanc made one appearance for New York, then was put on waivers again, cleared, rejected his outright assignment and re-signed with the Angels on June 17.

"We were very fortunate that after he left the Yankees, he came back to us," general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He has feel, he has an out-pitch changeup, he has a breaking ball he can throw for strikes. He's pitched in this league many times; he's started games over and over.

"Between Wade and Randy Wolf and Chris Volstad, we felt like, if nothing else, we have a volume of Major League experience. If this moment came, we had someone who was competent, who can go out there and start at the Major League level."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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