Baltimore Orioles All-Star closer Zach Britton is expected to miss somewhere between 45-60 days with a forearm injury.
According to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli, the Baltimore Orioles may be without the services of their elite closer Zach Britton for 45-60 days. Ghiroli also reported that the Orioles are convinced that Britton will return in July, sometime before the All-Star break.
The report comes after Britton learned he had no structural damage in his left forearm after getting a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday in California, per Dan Connolly from BaltimoreBaseball.com. After learning the uplifting news, the Orioles planned on shutting down their closer for 10 days, followed by throwing progression in Sarasota.
Britton is optimistic about returning on the sooner end of the time estimate spectrum, saying, “If I wasn’t back by the 45-days [mark], I’d be shocked. It’s not a huge strain. There are grades to strains, and it’s closer to a weaker strain. A lot of it just depends on how fast I heal.”
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The reigning Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year first went on the disabled list on April 16 after a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities with a 1.29 ERA and six strikeouts. Britton remained on the disabled list through April before appearing at Fenway Park on May 2 when he pitched one inning, allowing a hit with no strikeouts.
Britton made his second appearance two days later, pitching a shutout inning in the series finale against the Boston Red Sox before suffering a setback the following week that put him back on the 10-day disabled list.
Britton believes that he came off the disabled list too soon, which contributed to his continued discomfort. As a result, the team will likely be extra cautious with their star closer.
Britton, a two-time All Star, has converted 54 consecutive saves, tied for the AL record, dating all the way back to October 1st, 2015.
While Britton has been out, reliever Brad Brach has been primarily taking over the closing job and has been quite successful, converting eight out of nine saves so far with a 2.41 ERA and a 8.68 K/9. Darren O’Day has also been filling in on occasion.