Update: Britton is expected to miss 45-60 days per reports
The Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton has once again been placed on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. The injury is an aggravation of the the same injury that caused him to miss time in April.
“I think he should be back in two to four weeks,” Dr. Selene Parekh MD, an orthopedic surgeon, said. “Don’t be surprised with a plasma rich platelet or stem cell injection.”
Britton had pitched two successful innings for the Orioles prior to the reoccurrence of the injury. It raises the question if the reaggravation could increase his chance at undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Brad Brach instantly becomes a must own in all fantasy baseball leagues once again. It was clear he had no issue transitioning to the ninth inning when he was successful in six of seven save opportunities to go along with his 2.12 ERA. The Orioles are likely to have 90 wins and Showalter has historically leaned heavily on his closers, making the so-far successful Brach a great pick up as long as Britton is on the shelf.
While the Orioles were prepared to replace Britton with a more than capable replacement, the injury inevitably does thin out the team’s bullpen.
The hard throwing Mychal Givens will once again slide up to the setup man spot and would presumably be next in line to close should another injury occur. Givens has a 1.23 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 14.2 innings pitched this season. Left-handed specialist Donnie Hart is also having a successful season, striking out 13 batters in nine innings. But the ball stops there for Baltimore.
The Orioles have no other relief pitcher who has a sub-5.00 ERA with more than five innings pitched this season. Darren O’Day, the typically reliable veteran reliever currently dawns a 5.11 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched in 2017. He could improve but the results have been less than stellar thus far.
If Britton continues to battle issues in his throwing arm, the the team will likely seek to acquire bullpen help at the deadline if it hopes to compete with the Yankees late into the season.