Red Sox's Garrett Richards tosses four scoreless innings in bounceback outing

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Justin Leger
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Newcomer Garrett Richards shines in latest Red Sox start originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox finally got what they've been wanting to see out of Garrett Richards on Friday.

The 32-year-old right-hander was signed to a one-year, $10 million contract during the offseason to shore up what was an abysmal starting rotation in 2020. In his first two spring starts, Richards did little to prove himself as a reliable option. He was saved by the mercy rule in his debut then allowed four runs and three walks in two innings of work in his second outing.

The third time was the charm.

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In Friday's start, Richards tossed four scoreless innings vs. the Tampa Bay Rays and struck out seven. He allowed only one hit, though he did walk three. The ex-Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres hurler came away pleased with his progress.

“In spring training, you’re working on stuff,” Richards said. “It wasn’t necessarily there at the beginning of spring training, but we’re making some big strides in between with the work me and (pitching coach Dave Bush) are doing. ...

"Right now, it’s just matching up my mechanics with my timing and keeping my delivery simple. We put in some really good this week to get ready for this start, and I think it’s trending in the right direction, so I’m happy with that.”

A productive year out of Richards would go a long way for the Red Sox in 2021. With ace Chris Sale recovering from Tommy John surgery, Richards is projected as the No. 3 starter behind Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi. A lack of rotation depth last season resulted in a last-place American League East finish and the fourth-worst record in the majors (24-36).

As for the other standouts in Friday's 8-2 victory, infielders Christian Arroyo, Michael Chavis, and Jonathan Arauz each notched home runs. Newcomer Hirokazu Sawamura made his first Sox appearance, allowing one run on one hit and three walks while striking out one in 2/3 innings.