From the moment that Orioles closer Zach Britton landed on the disabled list a second time, it was clear that he would be gone for longer than the minimum of ten days or anything close to it. Orioles GM Dan Duquette hopefully gave an interview in which he suggested at least a month. It’s going to be a little worse than that.
Orioles beat writers, including The Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina, indicated through an industry source that Britton is now expected to miss in the realm of 45-60 days from now. That leaves the team hoping that he will be back around the All-Star break, if there aren’t any setbacks.
Publicly, the only comment from the team was manager Buck Showalter offering to reporters pre-game that the next step for Britton would be a trip to Sarasota, where the team’s rehab efforts are coordinated.
This development follows Britton’s Monday visit to a specialist in Los Angeles, where, according to Encina, another MRI was done on his arm that revealed less swelling than the previous one. It’s good if things are getting better, but it seems clear the timeline is weeks rather than days.
Britton rushing back is what seems to have made the problem, whatever it is, worse this time around, so the team should do all that it can to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
For what it’s worth, Britton himself, responding to the reports saying 45-60 days, told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli, “I’d be shocked if I’m not back within 45 days.” At best, it seems they will have to get through the rest of May and much of June with a Britton-less bullpen.
If things go well, perhaps a pitcher whose results resemble the 2014-16 Britton will emerge on the far side of this disabled list stint. If it turns out to be worse, which when it comes to arm injuries, it seems like things often turn out to be worse, then the Orioles will have to start imagining the post-Britton era sooner than they ever anticipated.