Impact of season-ending injury to Angels' ace pitcher felt in Salt Lake

By Ryan Miller

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21 2014 11:10 p.m. MDT

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards grimaces as he is attended to on the field after an injury during the second inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014.

Elise Amendola, AP

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SALT LAKE CITY — The shockwave of Wednesday night's season-ending knee injury to Los Angeles Angels ace Garrett Richards was felt from coast to coast, and certainly in Salt Lake with the Bees.

Salt Lake outfielder J.B. Shuck spent the majority of last season with the Bees' parent club playing alongside Richards, and also has had a couple of short stints with the Angels this season, witnessing Richards pitch himself into Cy Young contention.

"(It's) terrible," Shuck said of the injury. "You never want to see anyone get hurt, especially a guy that's having a great year like he is. Shoot, he had to have been in the top five in pitching in the league and had a chance to lead that team. It's tough to see."

With Richards out for the season, the Angels called up pitchers Wade LeBlanc and Cam Bedrosian from the Bees to try and ease the pain of losing their ace.

LeBlanc has been the most effective starting pitcher for Salt Lake this season, compiling a 10-3 record to go along with a 4.00 ERA. The former Bee could be asked to fill the fifth starter role for the Angels or provide long relief out of the bullpen.

Having spent time with the big league squad, Shuck believes the Angels, who own the best record in MLB, will continue to find ways to win.

"We still want to win, and that's what they're going to do up there," Shuck said. "They're going to mourn over losing a guy like that, but in the same sense they are still going to try to win and do what they have to, to keep doing that."

With Salt Lake's season nearing completion and MLB active rosters soon expanding to 40 men, it's a possibility that Shuck, who currently resides on the 40-man roster, could be called upon to play a role for the Angels as they finish off the regular season. Even with that opportunity looming, Shuck isn't letting himself think too far ahead.

"I am just trying to finish out this year right here," Shuck said. "Whatever happens in September, it happens. I'd like to go up, but that's up to them. There's still some things I want to do. We got another two weeks, so I'm going to look to continue to build and get better and finish out strong."

His squad is trying to do that as well.

The Bees were attempting to win for the ninth time in their last 12 games Thursday night. At the Deseret News deadline, Salt Lake was tied with Round Rock 8-8 in the top of the 10th inning.

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