BALTIMORE (AP) — Orioles closer Zach Britton is preparing for a much longer stay on the disabled list this time after returning too quickly from a forearm injury.
Britton was initially on the DL from April 16 to May 2 with a strained left forearm. He pitched in two games, felt discomfort in his pitching arm and was put back on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday.
The left-hander visited Dr. Neal ElAttrache, an orthopedist based in Los Angeles, on Monday. After an MRI and an examination, Britton was placed on a program designed to restore strength in his forearm.
How long he will stay on the DL remains unclear, but Britton intends to return well before the All-Star break, refuting reports he could be out for 60 days.
“I can’t confirm the exact number of days,” Britton told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. “But a 60-day DL was never something brought to my attention. I’ll begin throwing in about 10 days and go from there.”
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette would not specify a time frame for Britton’s return, saying only that the pitcher must go through a “prescribed rest period” before throwing and ultimately pitching in minor league games.
Before going on the disabled list a second time, Britton acknowledged that he probably came back too soon.
“The doctors and the trainers wanted me to be a little more cautious with it at the time, maybe take another week,” Britton said. “I was kind of over sitting on the bench watching games and felt I was in a good enough position to come back. Obviously, I wasn’t.”
Britton helped Baltimore reach the playoffs last season by converting all 47 of his save chances and compiling a 0.54 ERA. This year, he’s 5 for 5 in save opportunities with a 1.00 ERA.
Brad Brach will serve as the Orioles’ primary closer in Britton’s absence. He’s converted eight of nine saves opportunities this season.