Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday that Richards will make at least one more start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday, before rejoining the Major League rotation. The 26-year-old right-hander has completed four rehab outings already -- two intrasquad games and two Minor League games during Spring Training -- but the Angels want to get him in a real game.
"He's got to play baseball now," Scioscia said. "If you want to bunt on him 10 straight times, you can. This is real baseball. He needs to experience this and get through some of these games and experience as much as he's going to need to get to the Major Leagues. We're very optimistic of where he is and we know he's going to be close, but this is a step that he needs."
The Angels are leaning toward starting Drew Rucinski on Tuesday, the first day they need a fifth starter, and Richards could return on the 20th or 21st -- at home against the A's -- if he continues to progress. Richards gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings in Arizona, walking three and striking out 12.
"That was probably the best I've felt from start to finish, without fatiguing or anything like that," Richards said. "Covering bases was fine, fielding bunts was fine. I threw 97 pitches, felt like I still had some in the tank. So the stamina is there. I feel like I'm right where I need to be."
• Anaheim recently hired a new lead negotiator to represent the city in an attempt to strike a new stadium lease with the Angels.
Asked how that could change negotiations, which have stalled for months, Angels owner Arte Moreno said: "Why would it change something? ... We spent three years working on something. I don't know how many city managers and how many city attorneys we've gone through. I think it's been like five city managers. [The city has] a new negotiator, and we're not negotiating."
• Andrew Heaney, who entered camp in competition for a spot in the rotation before a rough spring, pitched seven scoreless innings in his debut for Triple-A Salt Lake, giving up two hits, walking none and striking out eight.
• Shortstop Roberto Baldoquin, given an $8 million signing bonus in the offseason, exited Friday's game with Class A Inland Empire in the third inning after being hit by a pitch in the right hand, according to local reports.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.