Orioles rookie Zach Britton wasn’t particularly crisp in his fifth win Sunday afternoon, but he got the big outs when necessary and left an inning early due to a callus that he had removed from the middle finger of his pitching hand.
“It’s not a huge deal,” Briton said of the callus which came from his sinker grip rubbing up on the baseball’s seams.
“It’s a unique grip anyway so it kind of gives me a pretty good callus every now and again. Kind of what happened again [on Sunday].”
The 23-year-old Britton’s only blemish was grooving an 0-2 pitch to Brent Lillibridge for a solo homer in the fifth and he was charged one run on five hits and three walks, while striking out one in the 96-pitch outing.
“[Pitching coach Mark Connor] made me aware of it in the fourth,” Showalter said of Britton’s callus. “It wasn’t sore or anything. It’s just something that he seemed to be concerned with.”
Both Britton and Showalter said he would have gone out to at least start the seventh if not for the callus, which the O’s athletic training staff removed. The thought was given the cold, dry weather in Chicago that if they left it alone it could crack and form a blister. So they decided to be preemptive in that regard.
Britton was more frustrated with how he was working behind in the count most of the day, and acknowledged that he gave the White Sox some momentum later in the game.
“They were waiting for something to happen to get on the right track,” Britton said. “I felt like I gave them some chances to get back in the game, walking guys when we are ahead in the game is a big no-no and I did that a couple times. I have some stuff I need to work on and hopefully I’ll get that straightened out in my bullpen.”
Britton is 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his first six Major League starts, including a 3-0 mark with a 2.50 ERA over his last three.