Angels' Garrett Richards on track in knee surgery recovery

Angels pitcher Garrett Richards remains on track to return from knee surgery during spring training

Ten weeks into his recovery from surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee, Angels pitcher Garrett Richards remains on track to return to the field during spring training next February or March.

Richards’ agent, Fred Wray, said Monday that the hard-throwing right-hander has been riding an exercise bike, walking without crutches and doing strengthening and range-of-motion exercises at a physical-therapy facility in Tempe, Ariz.

Richards, 26, is expected to begin jogging on a de-weighted treadmill by the end of November, with the intensity of his workouts and the percentage of his body weight he can bear increasing throughout December.

Barring setback, Richards, who suffered the injury while covering first base in an Aug. 20 game against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park, could begin throwing and light baseball activities by late January. Spring training begins in mid-February.

Doctors said Richards would need six to nine months to recover from his surgery. Though the Angels have no desire or plans to rush him, there is a good chance Richards could be ready for the start of the 2015 season.

“The key to his rehab is not overdoing it for the first three months,” Wray said. “After that, he can slowly work his way back into more activities. From everything I’ve heard, he’s on pace with everything. It’s going very well.”

Richards emerged as the team’s best starting pitcher last season, going 13-4 with a 2.61 earned-run average in 26 starts, striking out 164, walking 51 and allowing only five home runs in 168 2/3 innings.

Richards is eligible for arbitration for the first time next spring and is expected to receive a considerable bump in salary from the $520,000 he made in 2014 to between $3 million and $4 million in 2015.

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