Baltimore Orioles lose Zach Britton To DL With Forearm Soreness

The Baltimore Orioles got some bad news Friday night. It appears they’ve lost their closer for an undisclosed amount of time.

And they don’t just have any closer. The Baltimore Orioles have Zach Britton who, despite not finishing in the top three in the voting for the Cy Young Award, was arguably the best pitcher in 2016.

Britton led the American League finishing 63 games for Baltimore and accruing 47 saves without blowing a single one.

Britton allowed just 38 hits on the year while striking out 74 batters in just 67.0 innings pitched. His ERA was a ridiculous 0.54 as he allowed just four earned runs all season.

Those are numbers like the league has never seen before. Many began drawing comparisons of the 29-year-old left-hander to the greatest closer of all-time, New York Yankees’ right-hander Mariano Rivera.

Of course Britton has to continue to play well, almost as good as he did in 2016 to ever be as good as Rivera was during his 19-year-career. That possibility, however, now seems a little less likely.

The two-time all-star closer has now been placed on the 10-day disabled list. The announcement was made by Orioles’ skipper Buck Showalter Sunday morning.

He apparently has a sore right forearm. According to USA Today SportsBritton began feeling pain while throwing his curveball in the Orioles’ Friday night win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Britton still earned his league leading fifth save of the season Friday night. It was his 54th consecutive converted save opportunity, tying him for having the second longest streak of all-time with Tom Gordon.

Eric Gagne owns the record for consecutive saves with 84, so Britton still has a long way to go to get there.

Showalter did note that Britton will likely not be back in ten days time and that there is no exact timetable for his return.

Forearm soreness can be something as simple as overuse but it can also be the sign of a torn ulnar collateral ligament, an injury that can only be remedied by undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Of course, there has been no indication from the team or otherwise that Britton’s UCL could even be the problem. It’s just that quite often that is the first symptom of a UCL injury.

At this point it appears that Showalter and the Orioles just want to be extra cautious with their star closer.

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