The Orioles received good news on the troublesome left knee of closer Zach Britton today, per MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko and Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Both reported that the Orioles came away with good news from an MRI, with Encina specifically noting that there’s no structural damage in the knee. The joint has given Britton some on-and-off discomfort for the past few years and flared up last night, with Encina noting that there is still some swelling. Both reporters suggest that the team is still weighing whether to place Britton on the 10-day disabled list to give him a bit of an extended break.
A few more notes out of Charm City…
- Rich Dubroff of PressboxOnline.net writes that manager Buck Showalter has indicated that the organization has some level of interest in looking at right-hander Miguel Castro as a starter next year. Castro was originally a starting pitcher in the Blue Jays’ minor league ranks but has pitched exclusively out of the ’pen with the Jays, Rockies and O’s. However, Baltimore has been impressed by multiple long-relief stints from the 22-year-old Castro this season, including a career-high six innings of one-hit ball on Aug. 3 and a 3 2/3-inning performance in last night’s extra-inning affair. Castro hasn’t started a game since pitching for Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate in 2015. In 46 innings with the Orioles this year, he has a sterling 2.74 ERA with 2.4 BB/9 and a respectable 42.3 percent ground-ball rate. His 4.9 K/9, however, is considerably below the league average, leading metrics like FIP (4.59), xFIP (5.09) and SIERA (4.85) to paint a far less optimistic picture — though it’s fair to note that Castro has missed bats at an approximately league-average 10.9% clip.
- Chris Tillman’s struggles haven’t been the result of being distracted with free agency on the horizon, the right-hander tells Kubatko. “I haven’t really thought about it, to tell you the truth,” said Tillman. “Everyone knows it is what it is. It’s out there, but I’ve got bigger things to focus on and that’s pitching better and trying to help this team get to where we want to be.” Tillman notes that he never heard anything from his representatives at Beverly Hills Sports Council about serious extension talks with Baltimore following the Winter Meetings this year. It’s been a nightmarish walk year for Tillman, who opened the season on the disabled list due to shoulder issues and has posted a 7.75 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, a 40.5 percent ground-ball rate and a diminished 90.7 mph average fastball.