2/18 notes: Richards, Iannetta, pace, visa issues …

Angels starter Garrett Richards is set to throw his second bullpen on Friday morning, a 30-pitch session from the stretch, all fastballs, and his first in five days. He’ll get only two this week, and hopes to throw three next week.

Still, Richards is behind the other starters, all of whom have at least a handful of bullpen sessions under their belt — and, of course, are not recovering from major knee surgery. Richards is still holding out hope that he’ll be ready by Opening Day, but he’s using that mostly as a motivation tool.

Realistically, he sees why the Angels might start him off on the disabled list. They have an off day on April 9, the fourth game of the regular season, and can go the first time through the rotation order without a fifth starter. The first time they’ll need a fifth starter is Jackie Robinson Day, on April 15. And with Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano added over the offseason, the Angels should have the depth to overcome a temporary absence.

Still, Richards continues to make steady progress.

“Everything feels good, agility feels good,” said Richards, who isn’t sure when he’ll work on covering first base. “I don’t notice anything different than before.”

  • Although the new pace-of-play regulations prohibit managers from leaving the dugout to challenge a call, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said teams will be given “a reasonable amount of time” to console with replay before making a decision.
  • Scioscia believes the new regulations are still “a work in progress.” “It’s not like pitch counts have risen over the last 20 years that would warrant taking an extra 15 or 20 minutes to finish a game,” Scioscia said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is the flow of the game, the pace of the game.”
  • The Angels plan to keep Chris Iannetta somewhere between 100 and 115 starts behind the plate this season, Scioscia said. Iannetta started 92 games last year and his career high is 105, but with Hank Conger now with the Astros, he may top that. Iannetta may also get starts at designated hitter against lefties, but the Angels won’t carry three catchers.
  • Lefty Atahualpa Severino (non-roster invite) and catcher Carlos Perez (on the 40-man roster) have yet to report to Spring Training due to visa issues. Both are expected in camp by Saturday.


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