Richards begins his throwing program

Richards begins his throwing program

ANAHEIM -- In the most encouraging news the Angels have received in some time, right-hander Garrett Richards resumed throwing Monday afternoon, and moved closer to realizing his plan of avoiding Tommy John surgery that could keep him out until 2018.

"It's nice to get a bit of good news for a change," said manager Mike Scioscia, who has already lost two starters, left-hander Andrew Heaney and right-hander Nick Tropeano, to Tommy John surgeries this season. "We're excited about it. Hopefully today is a big step forward in his (Richards') rehabilitation."

Dr. Steve Yoon noted "significant improvement" to the torn ulnar collateral ligament after Richards first received stem-cell injections in May. According to the Angels, Yoon said there has been no breakdown in the calcification, rather that the calcification has continued to improve since his last examination.

"Everything's great," Richards said. "I started throwing again, obviously, and I'm getting back into baseball activities. This is why I made this decision, to try and be able to pitch next year, instead of waiting (until 2018)."

Richards, 28, last pitched May 1. A 15-game winner in 2015, he said he hopes to resume pitching as soon as the fall instructional league. He was 1-3 with a 2.34 ERA in six starts at the time he landed on the disabled list.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.