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Angels pitcher Garrett Richards leaves game because of groin strain

August 15, 2011 |  7:39 pm

Garrett-richards2_275 Garrett Richards' start against the Texas Rangers on Monday night was cut short by injury. The Angels right-hander was removed from the game in the top of the first inning because of a right groin strain.

Richards, making his second big league start after being recalled from double-A Arkansas last week, gave up a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler, who advanced to third on catcher Bobby Wilson's throwing error and scored on Elvis Andrus' grounder to shortstop for a 1-0 lead.

Josh Hamilton grounded out to third, and Michael Young reached on an infield single. Then on his 19th pitch of the game, to Nelson Cruz, Richards appeared to land awkwardly on the mound. He clutched his groin area and hopped up on his left leg twice.

Manager Mike Scioscia and athletic trainer Adam Nevala came to the mound, and after a brief chat with Richards, the pitcher was pulled for reliever Bobby Cassevah, who struck out Cruz with his first pitch to end the inning.

The Angels might be relieved that Richards, the organization's top pitching prospect, did not suffer a shoulder or elbow injury, but groin strains are bothersome, just the same, and Richards, who replaced struggling right-hander Joel Pineiro in the rotation, is expected to miss several starts.

That could open the door for Pineiro to return to the rotation. Another option would be left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi, who started for 10 years in Japan and made 12 starts for the New York Mets last season.


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--Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Garrett Richards during his major league debut last week against the New York Yankees. Credit: Mike Stobe / Getty Images