Britton makes second –possibly final– rehab start

Orioles pitcher Zach Britton started for Double-A Bowie tonight, making his second –and possibly final– rehab start with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette saying previously that Britton could join the team on its current three-city roadtrip. Britton could feasibly pitch any game during the Boston series, with the Orioles –who right now have a four-man rotation — having some wiggle room given Thursday’s off day and one coming on Monday.

Britton pitched seven innings, allowing two runs –one earned– on five hits and a walk in Akron Thursday night. He also had a wild pitch and the unearned run was a result of his own throwing error. The 24-year-old lefty threw 92 pitches, 55 for strikes to lower his Double-A ERA to 0.75. For those who have asked about how Britton looks, I haven’t seen him throw but his velocity has reportedly been creeping back up with each outing and he spent his first rehab start focused on throwing a lot of breaking balls. I don’t know if there was a similar approach tonight.

Britton, who has been dealing with left shoulder discomfort since last August, hasn’t reported any pain or issues in that shoulder which received two rounds of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy this spring. His rehab has been overseen by Chris Correnti with director of pitcher development Rick Peterson on hand the last week or so as well.

It’s unknown what the Orioles plan to do with Britton, and the team doesn’t need a fifth starter until June 9. They could go with a spot starter for that game, since they have an off day again on the 11th, which would buy them time to get Britton at least one more outing. Still, given the recent struggles of the rotation its hard to believe they’d keep him in the Minors if he’s healthy and gets positive reports after tonight’s outing.

***

Chris Tillman had a great a night for Triple-A Norfolk, tossing eight scoreless innings and allowing one hit and one walk with nine strikeouts. Good to see Tillman (4-7, 4.15 ERA), who has had a tough start with the Tides so far, put it together. Hopefully, he can build on this one and continue to dominate Triple-A hitters to force his way up here.

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