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OAK@LAA: Richards induces double play to end seventh

Although Garrett Richards has gone between the bullpen and starting rotation throughout his career, the Angels right-hander always has preferred to take the ball every fifth day.

He'll make his fifth start of the season Saturday afternoon when the Angels and A's face off in Oakland.

"I like the routine much better. Even in the bullpen, it's definitely different, and you definitely have to mess with your routine as far as your lifting and mixing it up," Richards said. "I'm glad to get back to something that's familiar."

The Angels announced on Wednesday that Richards would replace Joe Blanton in the rotation, despite being in the bullpen for the past three months.

Richards is eager to take the ball and prove that he deserves to stay in the rotation.

"I'm excited. I always thought that I'd be a starter in the future and that I'd get some experience out of the bullpen," Richards said. "This is going to be a chance to improve that part of my game and kind of get back into my routine, as far as starting goes. I'm excited."

In 34 appearances this season, Richards is 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA. He last started on April 30 against the A's, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings for the loss.

Meanwhile, left-hander Tommy Milone will look for his ninth win of the season as he takes the hill for the A's.

He rebounded nicely on Monday after his shortest outing of the season. Milone held the Astros to three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings for the no-decision in a 4-3 A's win.

"The first couple innings, obviously something was off," Milone said after the game. "I think, as a team, we just didn't feel comfortable. We were able to stay in the game and get those big hits when we needed them."

Milone is 4-3 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts at home this season compared to a 4-5 record with a 4.88 ERA in 12 starts on the road.

Angels: Iannetta moves into platoon role
• Deep in an offensive slump, catcher Chris Iannetta has begun to split time with Hank Conger.

Hitting just .210 on the season with six home runs, Iannetta knows that's why he's started only nine games in July.

"If I were still contributing offensively, I'd still be playing," Iannetta said Friday after being held out of the starting lineup for a second straight day. "Hank's playing great, and he's doing a great offensive job for us right now, and that's what we need. We need that position to help the team out."

A's: Sogard could earn increased playing time
Manager Bob Melvin has taken notice of second baseman Eric Sogard's improved play since the All-Star break.

Sogard is 7-for-20 in six games since the break and could see increased playing time instead of the current platoon situation, especially if Adam Rosales' struggles at the plate continue.

"He's just taking advantage of his opportunities," Melvin said of Sogard. "When you're not playing every day, even though you see mostly right-handers, he's getting quite a few at-bats."

Nine of Sogard's last 14 hits have been for extra bases, and he's homered twice in his past 12 games.

Worth noting
• The Angels are 20-1 in the past 21 games when Josh Hamilton has an RBI.

• The A's are 14-16 against the American League West since May 10 and 28-9 against every other division.

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