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Tuesday Halolinks: Richards nears return to game action

Garrett Richards took another step towards returning to the Angels rotation by posting another strong outing.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

As we're getting closer to the beginning of the regular season, we should start seeing even less of the guys most of us don't recognize without looking up the jersey number on a roster and more playing time for those players we expect to see throughout the year.  This is the time where the spring training stats start to mean something...not everything, but what a player does the final 2 weeks carry more weight than during the opening weeks of spring.

Also as the regular season gets closer, be on the look out for more in-depth coverage and feature content from the Halos Heaven staff.  A regular FanDuel feature, upgraded Halolinks, and more content is in the works from me, as well as the continued great work from our talented group of idiots contributors (I proudly wear the title of "idiot" as a badge of honor...which is probably why I'm an idiot).

Oh yeah, some Halolinks:

  • The Garrett Richards news just keeps getting better and better.  It looks like last season's injury is almost completely behind him as he prepares to build on his breakout 2014 season: Richards twirls four no-hit innings in Triple-A start -, "Richards walked two and struck out three in a 53-pitch outing, which came five days after throwing three shutout innings in an intrasquad game at the Angels' facility. The slider is still a little inconsistent and he'll occasionally have trouble spotting the fastball glove side, but "that's all going to come with time," he said. "I feel great right now."
  • Any guesses as to who the most irreplaceable player is?  Anyone??  Would it surprise you it's not Adam JonesThe most irreplaceable players - FOX Sports, "Mike Trout, CF, Angels Three times has a player this decade put up a season better than the 8.6 wins Trout is projected to earn this year. Two of those times, it was Mike Trout. So, short of getting Jacoby Ellsbury (the other guy) on your team, you're just not going to have a great replacement for the best player in the game."
  • This is nifty: Depth Charts " Angels - FanGraphs Baseball, "Angels depth charts updated daily with projections"
  • Honestly, I thought the recovery rate was a lot lower than this: Tommy John Surgery Success Rates in the Majors – The Hardball Times, "A number of studies both in the academic arena and the public research space have arrived at similar success rates for Tommy John surgeries. The American Journal of Sports Medicine has published a number of such studies. One reported a return to major league baseball rate of 83 percent, one reported a return rate of 80 percent, and a third reported a return rate of 79 percent. My own Tommy John surgery database calculates a running total of return rates to MLB, for which the current rate for all surgeries performed before the end of 2013 is 78 percent. So right away we can see that full recovery from the surgery is not so automatic, that only four of five pitchers who undergo the surgery after making the majors return to pitch there again."
  • Okay, since I'm being honest -- my biggest fear is Matt Shoemaker's 2014 season was all a mirage, and he suffers the dreaded regression to the mean: Shoemaker not concerned with facing teams multiple times -, ""It's a game of adjustments," he said. "So we have to go out there, attack our game plan. For me, I have to execute my pitches. I have to execute and locate them. If I do that, I'll have a lot of success. That's what all the hard work goes into, being able to do that on a normal basis."
  • This is very cool: Strong bond continues between Jon Wilhite and Angels after tragedy - LA Times, "Wilhite played ball too. He played club ball with Angels pitcher Vinnie Pestano, so long ago that neither could remember the name of the team. Wilhite thought it was the Bulldogs. Pestano thought it was the Sharks. The two were in the same recruiting class at Cal State Fullerton. After the accident, Pestano left his minor league team in Ohio to visit Wilhite in a hospital. "He wasn't conscious," Pestano said."
  • An interesting feature on the Angels' only batting champion (to date...I'm looking at you Mr. Trout): Cooperstown Confidential: The Enigmatic Life of Alex Johnson – The Hardball Times, "The recent death of Alex Johnson brings to an end one of the most controversial and enigmatic chapters in baseball history. Even as we try to put the many conflicts of Johnson into proper perspective, I’m not sure whether to characterize him as a sympathetic victim of circumstances or as an antisocial figure who unnecessarily made life miserable for those around him. Or maybe, it’s a matter of both."
  • What is this "football" mentioned here?  The NFL Wants Two Teams In Los Angeles, "The Chargers and Raiders have already unveiled plans for a shared stadium, but at a presentation today, Rams owner Stan Kroenke will offer the first detailed designs for his proposed Inglewood Stadium. And from the glimpse he gave the Times, we've learned something fascinating: the NFL is apparently set on making Los Angeles a two-team city."