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Wednesday Halolinks: Garrett Richards on track for return

It looks like Angels starter Garret Richards is on track to return to the rotation around the time Spring Training starts.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

My first post-vacation edition of Halolinks features...nothing.  Okay, not nothing, but pretty close.  With Spring Training getting ready to start in under thirty days, I'm surprised there's not more "he's in the best shape of his life" stories out there, but I suppose players are still in the midst of their winter routine and have yet to show up with more or less weight.

Until then, here are today's weightless Halolinks:

  • My biggest concern with Garrett Richards' knee injury is how it'll affect his shoulder once he gets back on the mound.  I've read about how a pitcher will inadvertently change his delivery to compensate an injury to another part of his body, causing an injury to his shoulder.  Angels' Garrett Richards ahead of schedule in return from knee surgery - LA Times, "Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz said on MLB Network Tuesday that the transition from long-tossing on flat ground to throwing off a mound can be difficult for a right-hander recovering from left-knee surgery. “You balance on your right knee, but you really have to finish and drive on your left knee,” Smoltz said. “I think on flat ground you can do anything you want, you can feel like you’re healed, but when you [throw off a mound] it’s different, and that can determine whether or not there’s a chain reaction to other injuries. “You can say, ‘I’m favoring my left knee, so I’m not going to plant as much,’ which is going to correlate to your right shoulder. So I think when he can do all the drills, run, field, make those drastic cuts and moves, I think that’s when they’re going to feel comfortable to allow him to throw off the mound.”  Obviously, the Angels' training staff are aware of all of this, but still, I can't help to be concerned.
  • Within this post about the Halos' Cuban import is this bit about minor league depth: No Spring Training for Baldoquin, etc. - Gonzo and 'The Show', "The Angels recently signed veteran right-handers Frank Herrmann and Zach Stewart to Minor League contracts. Herrmann, a 30-year-old reliever who posted a 4.26 ERA in 95 appearances with the Indians from 2010-12, will be invited to Spring Training. Stewart, a 28-year-old swing man who had a 6.82 ERA in 103 innings from 2011-12, will not. The Angels would still like to acquire a Triple-A shortstop on a Minor League deal, and that may be the final move they make this winter."  These two pitchers don't seem like much, nor appear to provide much of an improvement over their current bullpen, but adding some depth at shortstop seems pretty interesting.  Either the club feels they need someone who can play the position in order to fill the line-up, or they might consider moving Erick Aybar.  Probably more of the former than the latter.
  • The Angels have seemed to have dropped completely off the radar on signing Yoan Moncada, but now there's this twist to his saga.  Why is MLB requiring him to go through a more stringent process to sign with a team?  Where will Moncada land among Major suitors? - MLB.com, "According to a report by Yahoo, Moncada does not need a specific unblocking license to sign with a Major League team. A Treasury Department official told the website that a specific unblocking license will not be issued for a person who meets the criteria for a general unblocking license. The Department of the Treasury's Office did not respond to an inquiry from MLB.com."