ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards was on crutches Friday when he rejoined his teammates for the first time since his season-ending knee injury.
Richards hobbled out to center field for the official team photo. The picture may not be too promising for the 26-year-old righty to start next season on time, but the prognosis is for a full recovery.
''I think Garrett's finally exhaled,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''There was obviously a lot of anxiety when he was first injured.''
''And although it's an extreme injury that's going to keep him out for a whole year and part of next year, I think he's comfortable with the procedure and the outlook for a full rehab. He'll be ready to go at some point early next season, and that's what he'll shoot for,'' he said.
Richards was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA when he tore a tendon in his left knee Aug. 20 while covering first base in a game at Boston.
''I watched the video a couple of times. To be honest with you, it looks more un-athletic than anything,'' Richards said. ''I think my cleat got caught in the dirt when I was going to break down to cover the bag at first. And I guess me trapping my feet, getting ready to slow down, it just popped.''
''After I heard the pop and the crunching, I knew something wasn't right. I didn't know what it was. Initially, I felt like I had a bone sticking out of my body. That wasn't the case, obviously, but it just kind of scared me. It's kind of a freak accident and you can't really explain it,'' he said.
Richards said he's feeling less pain every day. He will formally begin his rehabilitation that's expected to take between six and nine months next Tuesday in Newport Beach.
Richards said he's spending his evenings watching the AL West-leading Angels on television.
''I've been texting everybody and talking to everybody, and they've been letting me know what's going on and stuff,'' he said.
''I went through the phase where it's, you know, `Why did this happen to me?' It's a bummer that I'm not out there,'' he said,
Richards said that even though his year ended early, he felt good about what he accomplished.
''It was a great season,'' he said. ''I've learned a lot and I took a lot of positives from it. Even the games I didn't particularly pitch well, I took positives from it and made some major strides with my mentality and my delivery. It was another year where I felt like I made some major strides.''