Britton to the 10-day DL with forearm soreness - what this means for now -

Dan Connolly

Britton to the 10-day DL with forearm soreness — what this means for now

Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Toronto on Sunday morning that closer Zach Britton is dealing with soreness in his left forearm and that he will be placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Britton, who felt the soreness while throwing a curveball Friday, will be replaced on the 25-man roster by reliever Stefan Crichton, who was sent down Saturday to make room for Alec Asher.

So, what does this mean?

Well, we can start with the apocalyptic, nightmarish scenario first. Forearm injuries are always scary because they can be a precursor to elbow injuries. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that a guy has a strained forearm only find out later that, ultimately, his elbow ligament has been compromised. And we all know how scary that path can be. As a result, I never downplay any injury, especially one that sends a player to the disabled list.

OK, now breathe.

Right now, this isn’t being called a strain. Just soreness. And Showalter told and The Baltimore Sun that it was a possibility Britton could return in 10 days, though he added that it’s premature to know if that will be the case.

One thing to remember is that the new 10-day disabled list – it switched from 15 days to 10 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement signed in the offseason – makes this kind of precautionary move possible. Maybe last year, Britton would have sat idle for 5 days or so to see if the rest made it better. Now, there is a mechanism in place to sideline a player officially without losing him for more than two weeks.

Also, remember that the Orioles’ medical staff and Showalter have a reputation for being conservative with any type of potential injury. They are the kings at catching tweaks early, before they snowball. And being cautious usually serves the team well.

Here’s the other thing: We all know how important Britton is to this team in the long run. But, for now, the Orioles are exceptionally well-equipped to handle a brief loss of their All-Star closer.


Last week, I was talking to reliever Darren O’Day and he told me he thought Brad Brach would be a closer on most other teams. That Brach has that kind of stuff and demeanor. So, Brach likely will move into that role with Britton absent. And O’Day likely will pitch more in the eighth than in the seventh, and could get some save opportunities if Brach is unavailable. Donnie Hart and Mychal Givens also likely will slot up.

I’m not suggesting that Britton’s presence – even for 10 days – won’t be missed. But the Orioles’ bullpen is so deep that it should be able to continue to be effective even without its anchor. For a short time, anyway.

Losing Britton for an extended period would be an obvious blow. But let’s not get too worried about that yet.

This is concerning, as any injury to a star would be. It’s worth monitoring closely. But it’s also too early in the process to think the ninth-inning sky is falling.



  1. Bancells Moustache

    April 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm


    I guess it’s not a complete disaster. Buck will probably use Tyler Wilson, Ubaldo or maybe Ryan Flaherty when the game is close (mutters string of unprintable blasphemies under breath)

    • Dan Connolly

      April 16, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Hahahaha. All good. For now.

  2. Raveonjo

    April 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    The glass is half full. Remember Tippy’s appendicitis in 1983 saved his arm for the stretch run. Let Britton’s arm rest and recover in April so he’ll have a fresh tank later on. As Babe Ruth told Lefty Gomez, ” There’s only so many pitches in that arm.”

    • Dan Connolly

      April 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      You never know, Rave. Could be good for Brach, too. Give him a glimpse that he can do the job.

  3. woody

    April 16, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Potentially some really sad news, but lets not lose faith. Absolute worst case scenario he misses the season – he’s the best closer in the game but he isnt the difference between us being a winning and losing team from here. He’s worth about 3.5 wins a season to us. The way this team is taking command of the division, 3.5 wins we might have in spare change.

    We’ve got a ridiculous amount of depth – Givens & Hart are capable 7th inning guys, DOD/Brach very good 8th inning guys. Perhaps the biggest problem is finding a middle inning guy to allow everyone to move up and eat multiple innings to keep everyone fresh. I’d look at bringing a Vance Worley type player in to bring some stability if the worst happens.

    • Eldersburg Enigma

      April 16, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      The Vanimal and Tommy Hunter would look better than Tyler Wilson and Vidal Nuno right about now. Looking forward to seeing what Crichton can do.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 16, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      The problem is Woody, Worley types aren’t easy to find. I think his contributions last year were so underrated. And, yes, enigma, I’d agree this two provide more confidence, because of track records.

  4. claudecat

    April 16, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    They said on the postgame show that the soreness was more towards the wrist area than the elbow, which bodes well. I’m thinking (hoping) that it’ll be fine. Especially if we get more games like today’s, in which it’s safe to use even the likes of Crichton (who may have just been nervous in his first MLB action), Wilson and Nuno.

    And while I have faith in the good ‘pen guys, our mop-up/long relief guys are very scary. Maybe do some more experimenting with guys from down below like Crichton rather than continue to use proven mediocrity like Wilson and Nuno. Sure would be nice to have Worley right now, but he’s changed hands twice with nary a nibble from us. Curious…

    • Dan Connolly

      April 16, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      Yeah, closer to the wrist is always the better scenario. To me, the proclamation of soreness versus strain is also a positive indicator. But, again, it’s a situation to monitor but not freak out about at this point. As for Worley, it’s not really curious as much as it is simple procedure/economics. The Orioles want flexibility at that spot and he has no options. And he could potentially get more money and have a better chance of sticking all season in other organizations.

      • claudecat

        April 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm

        I get it. But I’d still rather have one reliable guy with no options making a bit more cash than several optionable schmoes not getting the job done.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Total agreement. I would have tendered Worley, to be honest. But it isn’t my money.

  5. marcshank

    April 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    You’re right: better April than October. Every team has injuries, of course. We’re lucky to have good back-ups.

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    This wouldn’t have happened had Wieters been catching him …..

    • marcshank

      April 16, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      You may very well be proven right, Boog.

  7. bigdaddydk

    April 16, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    This just means Brach gets to audition for a future closer role, either with the O’s if they trade Britton, or with another team if they trade him. Not that I’m in a hurry for either one to be gone, but not many teams are fortunate enough to have two closer types with the nasty stuff that both of those guys have. I’d like to have Britton in the pen rather than on the DL, but I’m not ready to lose sleep over it. What will cause lost sleep is the thought of more Tyler Wilson on the mound.

  8. Ben1

    April 16, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    so just take leads into the 9th of more than 3 runs. Personally, I like leads of 5 after 8 innings

  9. [email protected]

    April 20, 2017 at 5:17 am


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