After absence, Richard steps in seamlessly

Lefty's quality start in first big league outing since 2013 a welcome sight to Cubs

After absence, Richard steps in seamlessly

CHICAGO -- After two left shoulder surgeries and not pitching in the Major Leagues since 2013, Clayton Richard couldn't help but smile on Saturday night. He was back in the big leagues in front of 37,898 at Wrigley Field and got the win.

"It was a lot of fun," Richard said. "I missed it."

The left-hander, whom the Cubs acquired from the Pirates for cash considerations on Friday, made his first big league start since June 21, 2013, and gave up two runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 7-2 victory over the Marlins. Kris Bryant hit two home runs, driving in six runs, to back Richard, who is still learning the names of his new teammates.

Richard on his Cubs debut

Richard had been pitching at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA in nine starts. He was recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in his left shoulder, which he underwent in July 2013.

The Cubs have been looking for some starting pitching depth. Richard could be the answer. He was happy to be wearing a big league uniform.

"[The Major Leagues] has always been where I want to be, and I've always felt if I'm able to do what I can do, I'll eventually get there," Richard said. "You never know how opportunities in baseball will work out, but usually there's another one coming around the corner. I tried to do my best to be prepared when that opportunity does come."

Maddon on Bryant, Richard

Richard was in Toledo, Ohio, when he got the news of the trade and drove with his wife to Lafayette, Ind., to get their son, then headed to Chicago. Did Richard have butterflies on Saturday?

"I was more nervous on the drive up [Friday]," Richard said. "Today was pretty much game situation. Warming up, getting here was very routine oriented. When I found out, I had more butterflies in my stomach. It was a lot of fun."

The lefty, who won 14 games in both the 2010 and '12 seasons with the Padres, said he felt ready to compete this spring.

"I finally get a chance to prove it," Richard said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.