Garrett Richards cleared to throw again; Angels sign two left-handers

Angels' Garrett Richards, expected to return in six to nine months, might be back sooner rather than later

Angels pitcher Garrett Richards has been cleared by doctors to resume throwing on Monday, and the right-hander, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee in August, appears on track to be ready for the 2015 season opener, according to his agent, Fred Wray.

Wray said Richards, who suffered the injury while covering first base in an Aug. 20 game against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park, is scheduled to begin running sometime around Jan. 1 and could begin throwing off a mound shortly thereafter. He will probably begin light baseball activities in late January.

“Everything is going great,” Wray said in an email. “Garrett is upbeat, he’s busting his tail in rehab, and he’s going to come back better than before.”

The Angels would be elated if the hard-throwing Richards, 26, came back as good as he was last season, when he went 13-4 with a 2.61 earned-run average in 26 starts, striking out 164, walking 51 and giving up only five home runs in 168 2/3 innings.

Doctors said Richards would need six to nine months to fully recover from his surgery, but it is beginning to look as if Richards will be ready by the front end of that projection.

The Angels also signed left-handers Adam Wilk, a former Cypress High School standout, and Edgar Ibarra to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.

Wilk, a 27-year-old starter, threw 24 1/3 innings for the Detroit Tigers in 2011 and 2012 and spent the 2014 season with the Pittsburgh’s triple-A team at Indianapolis, going 7-14 with a 4.72 earned-run average in 28 games, striking out 106 and walking 44 in 146 2/3 innings.

Ibarra, a 25-year-old reliever, has a career 4.13 ERA in nine minor league seasons in the Minnesota Twins organization and split 2014 between triple-A Rochester, N.Y., and double-A New Britain, Conn., going 7-1 with a 4.22 ERA in 40 games. The Venezuelan native has never pitched in the major leagues.

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