3:58pm: Britton tells the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck and other reporters that he pushed to return to action during his previous DL stint, when Orioles doctors preferred that he take more time to make sure the injury was fully healed. Britton will visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache for a second opinion on his forearm. O’s manager Buck Showalter said that Alec Asher will take Britton’s spot on the active roster, though no official move has been announced.
TODAY, 8:14am: Britton will be placed on the 10-day DL and is expected to miss a few weeks, Connolly reports. The injury appears to be the same forearm strain that previous sidelined Britton, as there doesn’t appear to be any structural damage to the closer’s forearm or elbow ligaments.
FRIDAY: Orioles closer Zach Britton was not available tonight due to renewed issues with his ailing left forearm, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com was among those to report on Twitter. Britton required another MRI, though the results and the expected plan are not known at this time.
Needless to say, that’s disappointing news for the Orioles, who had just welcomed back the ace reliever. The 29-year-old missed about two weeks resting a forearm strain that seemed relatively mild. But it’s obviously concerning that the problems have returned after just two more outings.
Britton has allowed only a single earned run through his nine innings on the year. But he hasn’t been nearly as dominant as he was in 2016. Thus far, Britton has recorded seven strikeouts against four walks while permitting a dozen base hits. Last year, he didn’t allow his 16th baserunner until June 3rd.
The outstanding sinkerballer has still shown his typical velocity levels when healthy, though his swinging-strike rate of 11.9% lags far behind its 17.2% levels from a season ago. Whether he can get back on track remains to be seen, but he’ll first need to get back to full health.
It isn’t known at present whether another DL stint will be required. Righty Brad Brach would surely continue to fill in as the closer for whatever time Britton is unavailable.