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Black outlines plan for ailing Richard

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SAN DIEGO -- Left-hander Clayton Richard made his trip to the gastroenterologist Monday morning and is still awaiting test results for the intestinal virus that landed him on the 15-day disabled list.

In the meantime, San Diego manager Bud Black outlined the club's plan for Richard over the next couple of weeks, noting that while the the virus has sapped some strength out of Richard, his arm feels fine.

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Richard will throw a series of bullpen sessions, during which the club will try and straighten out his mechanics. Once he's feeling up to full strength, Richard will likely head out for a rehab assignment in the Minors before returning to the big league club.

"First of all, get healthy," Black said. "Today was a day where the doctors are going to try and get a handle on what's going to happen the next couple of weeks. His arm feels good. He's still a little weak. His strength has been depleted. But he feels good enough to throw."

It would be hard to overstate Richard's struggles this season. He's 0-4 with an 8.54 ERA and has been unable to avoid the big inning. He has pitched into the sixth inning just once in six starts.

The Padres have noticed a dip in the left-hander's arm angle and hope to get that straightened out by the time he can return. Black said Richard's April struggles could be attributed to a combination of his health and the poor arm slot.

"The first month of this season, April, there have been some things physically -- not his arm -- that have caused the performance," Black said, referring to the illness. "At times his arm angle, the last three starts, has dropped a little bit. Whether that was due to his not feeling strong, I'm not sure. But we're going to address his arm angle."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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