The San Diego Padres signed Clayton Richard last week and are hoping we might be able to help their beleaguered starting rotation as another option. It marks the return to San Diego for a pitcher who was out of baseball for two years before fighting his way back.
Richard was drafted by the White Sox in 2005 before being dealt to the Padres in 2009 as the centerpiece of the package for Jake Peavy and had several good years for the team before injuries knocked him out in 2013. Now it comes full circle back to San Diego.
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Richard had several shoulder surgeries where he lost two years pitching in the Major Leagues, but made it back and pitched for the Cubs last season. He made 25 more appearances this season before being designated for assignment and the Padres scooped him up.
Last year Cubs catcher Miguel Montero was impressed with what he saw as the season progressed: “Later on in the season, he was like the Clayton Richard that I faced, He was throwing it harder than the Clayton Richard I faced, too. The guy worked his butt off to be where he’s at right now again.”
Last year for the Cubs he finished with a 4-2 record and ERA of 3.83. Allowing the longball was a problem for him in the past, especially 2012 when he allowed league highs in hits and home runs, as well as making a career high 33 starts. So far he hasn’t allowed any home runs this year in the 14+ innings combined in the majors.
Still just 32 years old, the Padres might use him as a part of a six man rotation to help ease the innings load on some of their younger starters like Luis Perdomo and Christian Friedrich. It is nice to see successful returns after arm injuries. I remember being at the game that would be Richard’s last (I believe against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw…and the Padres still won the game) so now hopefully Richard can help a Padres team the final two months of the year that needs some healthy arms.