After a forgettable outing Friday night against Toronto in which he gave up a run on three hits, Baltimore Orioles' closer Zach Britton revealed he felt soreness in his left forearm. As first reported by Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have placed Britton on the 10-day disabled list.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter commented that he was unsure if Britton would return on the first day he is eligible, but did make it clear that the team would take every precaution necessary with their All-Star closer. To fill his spot in the bullpen, right-hander Stefan Crichton will get the call back to Baltimore from the minors.
Britton, 29, is one of the best closers in baseball when healthy. While forearm injuries are certainly a concern and can lead to other arm problems, Baltimore is hoping some rest will be enough Britton can return to form. Since moving to the bullpen full-time after the 2013 season, Britton has produced an ERA below 2.00 each year and had a career year last year, converting 47 saves and producing a season ERA of just 0.54, one of the most dominant seasons from a reliever in recent memory.
So far this season, Britton has converted all five of his save opportunities, including Friday night against Toronto, before his injury was revealed. He has now converted 53 consecutive save opportunities and is a big loss for the Orioles. With Britton shelved for the foreseeable future and no timetable for his return, Baltimore may turn to a committee of arms to close down games. Relievers Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and veteran Darren O'Day are capable of producing until Britton is able to return.