With their starting rotation in a state of flux, the
injury-plagued Baltimore Orioles are counting on Zach Britton to
help provide some stability.
Britton is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to make
his season debut Tuesday night as the visiting Orioles take on the
Minnesota Twins, who broke out in a big way during the opener of
this four-game set.
After going 11-11 with a 4.61 ERA over 28 starts during his
up-and-down rookie season, Britton has yet to take mound in the
majors this year. The 24-year-old left-hander, who was on the
disabled list last August with a strain in his throwing shoulder,
still felt soreness in the spring and was placed on the DL with a
shoulder impingement before opening day.
Activated June 6, Britton was sent to the minors, where he’s
been able to round into form. He threw seven scoreless innings
during his last start Thursday and is looking forward to finally
getting back to the big leagues.
“I feel a lot more confident going into this year, because I
know I’ve prepared the right way and my delivery’s where it needs
to be,” Britton, who led Baltimore in wins last year, told the
team’s official website. “There’s a lot of confidence from that
aspect coming into the start.”
With Jason Hammel (right knee surgery) out for at least a month
and Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta both recently sent down, the
Orioles are looking to Britton to bolster their rotation, which
looked especially troubled Monday.
Chris Tillman was tagged for seven runs – one earned – while
retiring just two batters before being removed. The Twins (37-52)
did plenty more damage the rest of the way, winning 19-7 behind
Denard Span’s season-high five RBIs and four hits each from Ben
Revere and Justin Morneau.
“We’ve been taking a few beatings lately. It’s nice to be on
this side of one,” said manager Ron Gardenhire, whose club snapped
a five-game losing streak.
Baltimore (46-43) had outscored the Twins 39-9 during a
seven-game run in the series before Monday, but dropped to 1-5 over
its last six games overall.
“File this away as, ‘Oh, well,'” said Mark Reynolds, who went 3
for 4 with a homer and four RBIs but committed a two-out error that
led to the Orioles’ disastrous first inning. “Just one of those
nights. You’ve got to tip your hats to them.”
Baltimore will try to bounce back against Twins scheduled
starter Samuel Deduno (0-0, 5.06 ERA). In his first big league
start, the right-hander allowed three runs and was taken deep twice
over 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss at Texas on July 7.
While Deduno has never faced Baltimore, Britton won each of his
two starts versus Minnesota last season while compiling a 3.27
Already playing without oft-injured Brian Roberts (hip), the
Orioles now have to overcome the absence of fellow second baseman
Robert Andino. He’s expected to miss at least three weeks due to an
injured left shoulder.
Andino was hitting .230 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 79
games. Britton will take his spot on the roster.