Garrett Richards explains decision to undergo Tommy John surgery
Garrett Richards will likely be sidelined until 2020 after deciding to undergo Tommy John surgery, and now he’s explaining the thought process behind it.
It was announced Thursday that Richards had opted for the dreaded elbow procedure to fix his damaged right UCL, per Maria Guardado of MLB.com.
In an interview that aired on FOX Sports West, the Los Angeles Angels righty opened up about the decision to bite the bullet and get the Tommy John.
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) July 13, 2018
“I obviously knew something was going on based on how I was feeling, so I’m gonna go ahead and have Tommy John surgery in the next couple of weeks,” Richards confirmed. “Just kind of have a little bit of peace of mind, just get the surgery and come back strong and be able to get back to pitching without worrying about anything.
“When you’re presented with some choices, you think about both sides,” he went on. “But for me, going into the doctor’s appointment, I kind of had made up my mind that if there was something going on related to my UCL, this time around I was going to get the surgery. Like I said, just move on. Just get the surgery and move forward and get back to the second half of my career hopefully and get back to doing what I do.”
UCL damage was first detected in Richards’ elbow back in May of 2016, but he opted for stem cell treatment instead of Tommy John surgery. He still missed the rest of the year however and made only 22 starts in the two seasons since (albeit mostly due to a nerve issue in his biceps).
Richards, who will be a free agent after the season, is already 30 years old and will probably be 32 by the time that he can make a meaningful contribution on the mound again. As for the Angels, they managed to avoid Tommy John for one of their star pitchers this season, but not this time around.