ANAHEIM -- Angels starter Garrett Richards got the thumbs up from doctors at the Orthopedic Specialty Institute in Orange, Calif., on Thursday and can begin his throwing program on Monday, which is right around the time he would've started throwing in a normal offseason.
Richards, who suffered a torn patellar tendon in his left knee on Aug. 20, is "right on schedule," his agent, Fred Wray of Relativity Sports, said Friday. The 26-year-old right-hander also can start running by the start of the new year, 19 weeks post-op and about seven weeks before the start of Spring Training.
There is no firm date for when Richards will start throwing off the mound yet, but he "feels good," Wray said.
"He has some days where the rehab is a little tougher than other days, but as far as pain and discomfort and setbacks, there's just been really none of it -- knock on wood," said Wray.
Richards has been closely monitored by Dr. Robert Grumet, one of the Angels' orthopedic physicians, and has been rehabbing three to four hours a day at Physiotherapy in Tempe, Ariz., mostly doing strengthening and range-of-motion work.
Richards was cleared to start riding a bike shortly after the Angels were swept in the American League Division Series, and he is on track to be ready by the start of the regular season, though the team will no doubt take it slow with him in Spring Training.
Richards broke out in 2014, going 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 starts before hurting his knee while covering first base at Fenway Park. The Oklahoma product is eligible for arbitration as a Super Two this offseason, projected to make about $4 million.
Richards' initial timeline from the team called for a six- to nine-month recovery, but it was always more likely that he'd be ready by the six-month mark.
"If you sense any hesitation, it's just because I've been through shoulder surgery as a player and I'm very superstitious," Wray said. "I just don't want to jinx anything, because it's been going very well. He's in great spirits and he's just plugging away, getting it done."