Orioles closer Zach Britton ruptured an Achilles tendon while working out in California Dec. 19. The left-hander, who missed considerable time in 2017 due to forearm and knee injuries, was working out at a facility operated by his agent, Scott Boras.
Britton will have surgery Dec. 21. The injury is expected to sideline him for at least six months.
The Britton news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal and confirmed by multiple industry sources.
Britton, who converted all 47 of his save opportunities in 2016, suffered a forearm injury this past April that led to two stints on the disabled list. He missed most of the season's first half, and in September his season ended early due to left knee soreness.
In 2017, Britton was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA and converted 15 of 17 saves. His American League record of 60 consecutive converted saves ended Aug. 23.
At this past July's non-waiver trading deadline, the Orioles contemplated moving Britton but decided against it.
Britton, who is eligible for free agency after this coming season, was estimated to be awarded a contract for $12.2 million, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
Without Britton, the Orioles could turn to right-handers Brad Brach, who is also eligible for free agency a year from now, Darren O'Day or Mychal Givens to close.
Brach saved 18 of 23 games in Britton's absence in 2017. O'Day has saved 17 games in six seasons with the Orioles. Givens has not yet been given a save opportunity.
The Orioles, who had also been in the market for left-handed relievers to complement Britton and Richard Bleier, will likely step up their pursuit.