The Angels expect Garrett Richards to be a "fully able pitcher" by Spring Training -- with no Tommy John surgery -- after their rehabbing ace visited Dr. Steve Yoon on Friday, who noted continued healing in Richards' right ulnar collateral ligament.
Richards received a platelet-rich plasma injection Friday to further promote healing in the ligament. The right-hander pitched in his final instructional league game, without any issues, Thursday and will not be throwing for the next eight to 10 weeks.
The 28-year-old was diagnosed with a partially torn right UCL in May, and was expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. But Richards opted to pursue stem cell therapy for his elbow in hopes of avoiding the surgery, which would have kept him out for all of the 2017 season. The righty underwent a stem-cell injection on May 16. As of Friday's evaluation, that choice looks to have paid off.
In his instructional league outings, Richards' fastball was in the mid-90s, the usual range for the flame-throwing righty.
"In my mind, my arm is already ready to go," Richards said after his first outing on Oct. 3. "I just went out and threw pain-free and did what I wanted to do with the ball."
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.