Report: Britton to be slowed this spring

Orioles pitcher Zach Britton is still dealing with lingering issues stemming from a left shoulder strain that landed him on the disabled list in August and, according to MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, the 24-year-old will be limited to start Spring Training.

Duquette tweeted the news early Wednesday morning and O’s executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had this to say on the matter:

“We are currently monitoring Zach Britton. He has already reported to Spring Training and is scheduled to begin his throwing progression this Friday.”

Britton has admitted before that he showed up to last year’s camp overprepared and he tired considerably down the stretch of his rookie season. The young lefty won five of his first six Major League starts and carried a 2.93 ERA into June, emerging as a legitimate American League Rookie of the Year candidate.  But he won just one of the 14 starts that followed, as he struggled to remain in the game more than five innings and watched his ERA balloon to 7.78 over a nine-start stretch that ended with him going on the DL.

Britton’s stay on the DL wasn’t long — he  was activated just over the minimum 15-day stay– and he made eight starts after that to finish the season 11-11 with a 4.61 ERA over 154 1/3 Major League innings.

It’s unclear how much Britton’s injury is effecting his offseason regimen and how it will impact his chances to make the team’s Opening Day rotation. He told MLB.com in December that his focus this winter had been less on throwing and more on building strength and stamina in an effort to better handle the 162-game grind.

Britton won’t be the only Oriole who is expected to be slowed in Spring Training, with right fielder Nick Markakis (ab surgery) expected to be limited through the first week of March.

3 Comments

With the volume of ptiching brought in over the off season, this injury issue needs to be dealt with cautiously. Erroring on the side of caution direct Britton to the minors to slowly work out the conditioning and developing mechanics. It too leaves the Orioles with something I think in their favor. Leaving Arrieta, Matusz and Britton in the minors for the finishing touches to their development would make it possible for the Orioles to bring them to the majors after the trade deadline together. Maybe even Tillman will catch fire. Then the pitching can be traded at the deadline for prospect to add to the minors if they do well during the first part of the season – Hunter, etc.

My goodness…you’re really busy this morning! Very disappointing news about Mr. Britton. If he is still experiencing shoulder discomfort, this will have to be addressed; he may not be a viable pitcher for us this year. Also hope the team doesn’t rush Nick Markakis and will not put him on the field until he is back up to full strength. If it isn’t until June, then so be it.

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