With the Orioles leading 4-1 heading into the ninth inning against the White Sox on Friday night, it was not closer Zach Britton who strode through the open bullpen doors. Brad Brach, who got the save chances while Britton had been on the disabled list, got the call.
Right away, one could only wonder whether there was some problem keeping Britton from pitching in the save situation. After the game, the other shoe fell in manager Buck Showalter’s post-game remarks.
Showalter told Orioles reporters that Britton had not been available to pitch in the game. He further revealed that this was due to Britton having the same forearm issue that landed him on the disabled list previously. According to Showalter, Britton woke up on Friday morning feeling the forearm discomfort.
The team scheduled an MRI for Britton, which took place earlier on Friday evening. Results of that MRI were not made immediately available, however, Showalter conceded that Britton going back on the disabled list is a possibility at this point in time.
You never want to hear that anything is wrong with the forearm of any pitcher, let alone a pitcher who was as key to the team’s success as Britton was last year. Until he comes back totally healthy and looking sharp, we’ll have to wonder if something is wrong. After all, Britton hasn’t looked like last year’s Britton all season so far.
Britton may well get shoved onto the disabled list if only to give the Orioles an opportunity to recall a pitcher who is otherwise within the usual ten-day window, such as Mike Wright. Gabriel Ynoa being needed for six innings in Friday’s win means that the Orioles don’t have a fresh long man available for Saturday unless they make a roster move.