Britton to make first rehab start Saturday
Orioles pitcher Zach Britton threw five innings in extended spring training this afternoon, going five innings and allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts. Britton, who has been on the disabled list since the season started, said his stuff was the best it’s been since he started throwing and the pair of runs came in the first inning when he had some early command issues. He threw around 80 pitches, including 10 in the bullpen to finish up and his fastball was in the 90-92 mph range.
The next step for Britton is to go out on a rehab assignment, which will likely be with Double-A Bowie, and he will make the first of what is expected to be two starts on Saturday. He would probably get up around 90 pitches in that outing and –given that all of the Orioles’ affiliates are on the road after that — where Britton makes his second start is still pretty up in the air.
Britton, who received two rounds of platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy at the end of March, has been working in Sarasota, Fla. with Chris Correnti and Rick Peterson during his rehab and has praised the efforts of both additions to the organization.
“I feel strong,” said Britton, who is on the DL with left shoulder impingement and hasn’t been 100 percent since August. “We’ve been making some adjustments, just kind of smooth things out a little bit. [Peterson] thought there was some things I was doing last season in my delivery to compensate [for shoulder discomfort]; trying to get me back in the good mechanics I had at the beginning of last year.
My breaking ball is back, which I didn’t have at the end of last season. My changeup has been there and the velocity is starting to creep back up.”
Britton, who is aiming to be back the first week of June, said his progression went quicker than he thought and he will approach his two rehab starts like the final two starts of Spring Training in trying to win a rotation spot.
“I got to earn my way back on the team that’s for sure,” said Britton, who has watched every Orioles’ game he can while in Florida. “It’s a first place team and I got to put myself in a spot to win a spot, they aren’t just going to throw anyone out there. I got to show I’m ready to perform in the big leagues.
So, I’m pretty excited about these next two starts and getting a chance to do that.”