los angeles angels fans, cover your eyes: your ace is down for the count once more. Wednesday was slated to be the triumphant return of Garrett Richards to the pitching mound after a year away from the spot where he mowed down batters with finesse and ease. Instead, the night served as a reminder of how fragile a pitcher can be, especially when he has a checkered past with injuries.

Leaving with an injury

The devastating blow occurred during the bottom of the fifth inning in a game against the Oakland Athletics. The telecast of the game appeared to show Richards motion towards his biceps before a member of the Angels training staff escorted him off the field.

Just like that, his first start post-injury was over.

Then again, the news could have been worse for Angels fans. The previous injury that kept Richards out for almost an entire season was an elbow injury, not a biceps injury. The newest ailment is likely unrelated to the old one and didn't seem to be bothering the pitcher too much, even as he came off the field significantly earlier than he planned to when the night began.

Ace when healthy

Before leaving the game with an injury, Richards was rolling in his return. He didn't give up a run during the first four innings, allowing just one hit and retiring ten consecutive batters in his quest to restore himself to former glory. The rest of the Angels pitching staff managed to bail him out for the rest of the game, guaranteeing the ace a victory in his first game back from a lost season, although JC Ramirez was credited with the win.

Richards has spent his entire career with the Angels after being drafted by them in the first round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. The inconsistent movement on his fastball has drawn praise from opponents and helped lead to his rise to the major leagues. He has two different fastballs in his arsenal, in addition to a changeup, a slider, and a curveball.

His stats are inconsistent throughout his career and he may never again be the pitcher the team thought he could be.

Still, if the Angels want to harbor any hope of making the playoffs, they will need their ace healthy. Richards showed flashes of dominance in 2014 but has seen knee injuries, elbow injuries, and the latest setback derails his career.

In the morning, the team's staff claimed that there was nothing significantly wrong. For his sake - and the team's sake - hopefully, that's true, and Richards can make his next scheduled start later in the week.

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