TEMPE, Ariz. -- An off-day for the Angels? Not really.
Wednesday was a day off only on paper. In reality, the Angels hosted a productive, well-attended nine-inning intrasquad game at their facility. Six of the 12 guys on their Major League pitching staff got their work in, Roberto Baldoquin took his first look at Major League pitching, and Angels owner Arte Moreno was on hand as Garrett Richards and C.J. Wilson threw some important innings.
Richards -- in the final stages of his recovery from a torn patellar tendon -- threw 44 pitches in three shutout innings, giving up one hit, walking none and striking out four. Wilson -- scratched from his last two starts, first because of a mild left knee injury and then because he was sick on Tuesday -- followed with a three-inning, 40-pitch scoreless outing of his own.
Wilson is slated to start Sunday against the Giants in Scottsdale, Ariz., back on his normal day and on three days' rest because Wednesday's workload was equivalent to a lengthy bullpen session. He'll have three Cactus League outings before likely starting the second game of the regular season in Seattle on April 7.
Richards will pitch in a Minor League game on Monday, another controlled environment where the Angels can closely monitor the 26-year-old right-hander. So this isn't the end of his rehab just yet.
"I wouldn't say the end," Richards said. "I would say this was a big stepping stone in the process to getting back to where I want to be. Everything went well today, but I still treat this as a day-to-day thing. I can't get too high on one performance and I can't beat myself up on a bad one, either."
Matt Shoemaker also pitched, giving up two runs on four hits in five innings. So did veteran relievers Huston Street and Cesar Ramos. Joe Smith, who has appeared in only one Cactus League game because of tightness in his lower body earlier in camp, worked out in the morning.
Richards was at 93-96 mph with his fastball and threw 31 of his 44 pitches for strikes. He froze Baldoquin with an 88-mph slider on the outside corner, did additional pitchers' fielding practice after his outing and said he didn't even think about his surgically repaired left knee.
Richards is still trying to get a feel for his breaking ball, which he still has a hard time burying, and he is still battling some of that expected next-day soreness.
"If we can keep the inflammation down, it moves more free and easy and it makes my job easier," Richards said. "It held up nice today. It's a nice building block."