If you thought it was time to panic because Zach Britton has struggled so far this early season, well get ready to really freak out now. The Orioles announced this morning that Britton has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with soreness in his left forearm.
Per the usual suspects on Twitter, Britton felt something in his forearm on Friday night when throwing a curve ball.
Manager Buck Showalter has stated, as he usually does in the case of injury, that he doesn’t anticipate that the team will be without Britton for too long. That’s really just being hopeful as there has been no timetable suggested for Britton’s return. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on April 25th, but it’s unlikely that will happen.
Forearm soreness is often the initial diagnosis given to players who ultimately end up needing Tommy John surgery. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet since very few details have been released, but that is a definite possibility. If that does turn out to be the case it’s possible we have seen Zach Britton throw his last pitch as an Oriole as he is a free agent after the 2018 season.
Britton hadn’t been his usual sharp self early in the season, allowing base runners in every outing he has made, including three walks, and giving up a run on Friday. How much as this injury been a part of that? Who knows, but it does seem like a possible explanation for his troubles.
To take Britton’s place on the roster, the Orioles have recalled Stefan Crichton, who was optioned yesterday to make room for starter Alec Asher. There has been no announcement on who will be the team’s closer in Britton’s absence, but the smart money is on Brad Brach.