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Orioles' Zach Britton Ramps Up His Rehab

May 16, 2018
BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton is ramping up his rehab from a torn right Achilles tendon. Britton had surgery last December, and the Orioles left-hander threw live batting practice May 15 for the first time.

Outfielder Craig Gentry stood in as Britton threw 15 pitches. He'll take two days off and then is scheduled to throw 30.

"It was good to get a hitter that was swinging," Britton said. "You get a better reading where you're at. Threw some good sinkers, spun some breaking balls. Just another step in the right direction."

Britton, who's been with the team through spring training and during the season, hasn't had a setback in the rehab. He's currently on the 60-day disabled list and eligible to be active May 28, but he isn't quite ready for that.

"The injury stuff is hopefully in the past, and now it's about helping the team," Britton said.

Both Britton and right-hander Darren O'Day, who has a hyperextended right elbow, are unavailable. Manager Buck Showalter said O'Day, who is eligible to be activated May 16, won't be, but should be in the next several days.

For Britton, he's preparing for a rehab assignment.

"I would assume probably the next home stand," Britton said. 

The Orioles next home stand runs from May 28-June 3.

After the next batting practice, Britton will need some simulated games, and then the rehab assignment.

Showalter said he's satisfied with how Britton's rehab assignment is proceeding.

"I think we're getting closer to the point where he's just thinking about pitching and getting people out instead of the other things that go through your mind," Showalter said. "We all know there's a stage that you will never get completely to until he faces hitters up here in a game."

The Orioles have had several key injuries during the first two months of the season. Besides Britton and O'Day, second baseman Jonathan Schoop missed 20 games with a strained right oblique, DH/outfielder Mark Trumbo didn't play until May 1 with a strained right quad and third baseman Tim Beckham is on the 60-day DL after a groin injury.

All have been missed, but particularly Britton, who set an American League record of 60 consecutive converted saves last year.

"One of the best closers in baseball," Showalter said. "I'm biased. I think he's the best. Makes your team better. … He's a really good pitcher that we haven't been able to have on our team. I think it kind of makes things have a better flow to it in the bullpen. I try not to talk about it too much."

Showalter has looked forward to the Orioles having a more complete team once these vital players return, and Britton agrees. 

"It's a comfort thing more than anything," Britton said. "We've played together for a really long time now. That core group's been together for a while. A lot of us came up to the big leagues together. … You can get as many of the core guys back, but you need young guys to step up."

***

The May 15 game between the Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies was postponed by rain. It will be made up at 7:05 p.m. July 12.

Follow Rich on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox