8/23/2014 7:38 P.M. ET
Walden checks in with injured friend Richards
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- After Angels right-hander Garrett Richards' left knee buckled beneath him as he ran to cover first base on Wednesday against the Red Sox, causing him to be carted off the field in a stretcher, he received a text message from a good friend who happens to be a big league pitcher himself.
"I texted him right after I saw him go down," Braves reliever Jordan Walden said. "He just told me what happened and that he was going to have surgery. I'm actually waiting on another text back from him right now."
Walden was waiting to hear from Richards prior to Saturday's game against the Reds because Richards had undergone surgery to repair a torn left patella tendon on Friday in Orange, Calif. He is expected to need six to nine months for recovery.
"It's tough to see the ace of a pitching staff go down, especially when they're in the race," Walden said. "To see him go down with a knee injury is really scary, but Garrett is a hard worker and I think he'll recover from it and come back even stronger."
Both Walden and Richards were drafted by the Angels -- Walden in 2006 and Richards in '09 -- and met while in the club's farm system.
"We lived together a long time in the Minor Leagues," Walden said. "He went to the University of Oklahoma and we have a lot of mutual friends in Texas, so we always hang out. We've just been buddies forever, and he's in my wedding this offseason."
Walden is confident that Richards will be better than ever when he gets back on the mound.
"One, he's young," Walden said. "Two, he's got one of the best arms in the big leagues. And his arm didn't get hurt, so he's still going to have the 100 mph fastball. He's never going to lose that. It's just a little bump in the road for him. He'll bounce back fine."
Fredi has checklist for handling no-hitters
CINCINNATI -- Left-hander Mike Minor flirted with a no-hitter in Friday's 3-1, 12-inning Braves victory over the Reds. He gave up a two-out, game-tying single to Billy Hamilton in the eighth for Cincinnati's first hit, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez then brought Jordan Walden in from the bullpen.
But had Minor not given up the bloop hit to center, how much further would Gonzalez have let him go in a 1-0 game?
"There are three things you check off the checklist," Gonzalez said. "There's injury -- how far do you let him go before he's getting in a position where he could hurt himself? Then you try to win the game for the team; and then you try to get a no-hitter for the young man. I think that's the order you try to do.
"The interesting [scenario] would have been if he walked Hamilton. Now it's first and second and you've got Todd Frazier. To this moment, I don't know what the answer is. I could say, 'Yeah, I would have let him pitch,' or, 'No, I would have taken him out.' But I can honestly say, 'I don't know.'"
Hamilton's single came on Minor's 107th pitch of the night, a figure he had exceeded several times earlier in the season.
"If he would've gone 107 pitches into the ninth [not having allowed a hit], I would have let him go back out there, and [Craig] Kimbrel would have been ready to go," Gonzalez said.
• Jason Heyward wasn't in the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Reds after Friday's 12-inning affair.
"He's fine. Extra-innings yesterday, he was running around like a wild man, so I thought I'd give him a little breather," Gonzalez said. "I may do it tomorrow for somebody else since it's a day game, give them two days -- both Sunday and [the off-day] Monday."
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.