5:03pm: Britton will not pick up a ball for at least ten days, Ghiroli tweets. But he says he expects to be ready to return on the early side of the estimated timeline.
4:30pm: Orioles lefty Zach Britton is expected to miss approximately 45 to 60 days of action, as MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli reports (Twitter links). Britton has already been placed back on the 10-day DL with what the team has described as a forearm strain.
Britton, who established himself last year as one of the game’s truly elite relievers, has been cleared of structural issues. But the fact that his forearm ailment recurred after an initial rest-and-rehab effort obviously suggested a need for more cautious handling.
The estimated timeline seemingly builds in a lengthy period of rest. As Ghiroli reports, the plan is for Britton to be shut down for some time to allow the forearm to “completely calm down.”
Baltimore hopes to get the ace closer back by the All-Star break. Given that timeline, the organization ought to be able to assess his status before making any plans for the trade deadline. Of course, with Brad Brach providing excellent work in Britton’s stead — he has a 2.41 ERA and eight saves through 18 2/3 innings on the year — it’s unlikely the O’s will be in the market for a closer this summer.