The first-place Angels beat the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, pushing their lead over the A’s in the American League West standings to 1 1/2 games. But the mood in the Halos’ clubhouse afterward was far from celebratory.
Garrett Richards suffered an ugly-looking left knee injury in the bottom of the second inning while running over to cover first base on a potential double play. His legs buckled underneath him as he slowed his pace near the bag and he immediately began writhing in pain. Jered Weaver told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez that he could hear Richards’ screams from the visitors dugout at Fenway Park, all the way across the field.
Richards lay on the ground for close to eight minutes before being loaded onto a cart by Albert Pujols and Angels manager Mike Scioscia. The diagnosis for now is a “left patellar injury” -- a more exact diagnosis will require an MRI back in Los Angeles. It’s a safe bet that he’s done for the season.
The 26-year-old has suddenly emerged as an ace in 2014, boasting a 13-4 record, 2.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 164/51 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings -- including his results from Wednesday. Anaheim already had a flimsy starting rotation, and this is obviously a major blow to the club’s chances of making a deep postseason run. If reconstructive surgery is required on the knee, Richards’ availability for the start of the 2015 campaign could also be in question.
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Cole Helps Rescue Bucs in Return
Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole made his first start since July 4 on Wednesday night against the Braves and looked pretty sharp, walking four batters but yielding only five hits and two runs over seven solid innings as host Pittsburgh snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Cole averaged 97.0 mph with his fastball in the outing -- a much better average reading than in his final few starts before landing on the disabled list with a lat strain -- and he even touched 100.3 mph on one of his offerings. On top of that, the right-hander induced 10 groundball outs.
Cole’s next two starts will come against the Cardinals -- a team the Pirates are trying to gain ground on in both the National League Central and National League Wild Card standings. Cole has made four starts against St. Louis in his career (including postseason play) and has held them to two earned runs or fewer in each. The talented 23-year-old is capable of carrying significant fantasy and real-life value down the stretch in 2014.
Myers Makes His Way Back To Tampa Bay
Also returning from an extended stay on the disabled list Wednesday was Rays outfielder Wil Myers, who had been out since a nasty May 30 collision with teammate Desmond Jennings that resulted in Myers fracturing his right wrist. Myers wasn’t as triumphant as Cole in his first game back, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout as Tampa Bay got blanked by the visiting Tigers, but the 23-year-old outfielder is worth picking up in fantasy leagues where another owner gave up on waiting/
Myers, a consensus Top 10 prospect not long ago, batted .293/.354/.478 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI in 88 games last season, earning 2013 Rookie of the Year honors in the American League. He tallied a double, two home runs, and six RBI on his seven-game rehab assignment with the Triple-A Durham Bulls prior to being activated on Wednesday.
National League Quick Hits: Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Wednesday that Michael Wacha (shoulder) could begin a minor league rehab assignment within two weeks … Zack Greinke (elbow) had his scheduled Thursday start pushed back to Saturday … Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro could miss up to a week after the death of a relative and three of his friends in the Dominican Republic … Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with a run scored as the Nationals beat the Diamondbacks on Wednesday … Buster Posey was held out of the Giants’ lineup Wednesday after experiencing a flare-up in his left hip … Mets rookie starter Jacob deGrom (shoulder) will be activated Saturday to face the Dodgers …Lance Lynn tossed seven shutout innings Wednesday to beat the Reds … Andrew Cashner (shoulder) will make his first start since June 18 on Saturday against the Diamondbacks … Michael Cuddyer (hamstring) is aiming to return to the Rockies’ starting lineup Friday … Nationals manager Matt Williams said Wednesday that he expects Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring) to return from the disabled list "sometime in September” … Brandon Belt (concussion) is still 2-3 weeks from doing any physical activity … Mets first baseman Lucas Duda slugged a three-run homer in Wednesday’s win over the A’s … Yadier Molina took light swings Wednesday for the first time since tearing a ligament in his right thumb on July 9 … Tanner Roark dropped his ERA to 2.80 with seven scoreless innings Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks … Rafael Betancourt (elbow) could rejoin the Rockies’ bullpen next month … Jon Jay went 3-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 12 games, as the Cardinals defeated the Reds on Wednesday … Kirk Nieuwenhuis is day-to-day with a stiff neck … With closer Jenrry Mejia nursing a back injury, Jeurys Familia notched a five-out save in Wednesday's defeat of the A’s … Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin has been reinstated from his 25-game amphetamines suspension … Hyun-Jin Ryu (glute) isn't likely to need a rehab start before returning.
American League Quick Hits: Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello tossed his third shutout of the season Wednesday against the Rays … After sitting out Tuesday with a bruised thumb, Alex Rios returned to action Wednesday and went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the Rangers’ win over the Marlins … Mike Napoli was held out Wednesday due to back spasms … Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista launched a three-run homer in Wednesday’s defeat of the Blue Jays … Victor Martinez hit a grand slam in the Tigers’ shutout of the Rays on Wednesday … Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran will be unavailable for the next few games after getting a cortisone shot in his elbow … has six extra-base hits in his last four games … David Ortiz went 4-for-4 and hit his 30th home run before being removed with general soreness Wednesday against the Angels … Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) threw a successful 35-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon … Will Middlebrooks is day-to-day with a tight right hamstring … Justin Verlander (shoulder) expects to return to the Tigers’ rotation Saturday against the Twins … Rangers manager Ron Washington doesn't expect Derek Holland (knee) to be activated from the disabled list until September … Nick Swisher underwent season-ending surgery Wednesday on both of his knees … Stephen Drew hit his first home run since joining the Yankees on Wednesday evening … Brandon Morrow is no longer using a brace on his right index finger when throwing bullpen sessions … Nick Punto (hamstring) has yet to swing a bat … Andy Dirks has been shut down from his rehab assignment due to a Grade 2 hamstring strain … Jeff Samardzija was knocked around for seven runs over 3 2/3 innings Wednesday in a loss to the Mets … Astros closer Chad Qualls was unavailable Wednesday with mild back discomfort and Jose Veras earned a save against the Yankees in his place … Royals catcher Salvador Perez will have an MRI on his right knee Thursday.