Barring setback, Richards, who has looked dominant in the controlled environments of two intrasquad games and two minor league games in Arizona, could return as early as Sunday in Houston.
“It’s the first time he’s in real baseball — the safety net is off,” Manager
The triple-A coaching and medical staff will be watching Richards closely to determine how he maintains his stuff, how he moves around the mound and fields his position and how he comes out of the start. Richards suffered a ruptured patellar tendon while covering first base in Fenway Park last August.
"There are a lot of checkpoints," Scioscia said. "Then we'll determine where he is, where he lines up."
If he passes all of his tests, could Tuesday be Richards' only minor league rehab start?
"Possibly," Scioscia said. "We're definitely going to err on the side of caution, but we also don't want a guy down there wasting pitches."