Carroll County Times

Orioles: Britton set to visit with Dr. Andrews

SARASOTA, Fla. - Zach Britton wants to try anything to get back on the mound. He's yet to pitch in a game this spring, and after he was scratched from Monday's minor league outing when his chronically sore left shoulder ached, Britton decided that he wanted another medical opinion.

After consulting with team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens, Britton will see the noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. on Wednesday.

"I just want to get somebody else to look at it," Britton said on Tuesday.

"We've done treatment since August on it, and the same issues keep coming up."

On Feb. 8, the Baltimore Orioles' left-hander had an MRI, and now he wants Andrews to take a look.

"I want to see what he has to say," Britton said. "Maybe he has a better idea of what we have to do to make this thing go away."

Britton spent time on the disabled list last August, and even though he ended the season strongly, the shoulder has continued to bother him.

"It's the last case scenario," Britton said. "I don't want to do it. I want to be on the field pitching."

Britton pitched in a minor league game last week, and was hoping to pitch in a big league game this week. Now, he concedes he's probably going to have to start the season on the disabled list.

"As of now, I'm going to take the cautious stance. I'd rather be ready the middle of April, end of April," Britton said. "I want to get it taken care of now, and if it costs me some time at the beginning of the season, so be it."

All spring, Britton has had starts and stops.

"I've made progress. It's not as severe as it was during the season," Britton said. "You'll have three good weeks - and then it pops back up. It's something that keeps popping back up, and we don't know how to control it."

Britton said he thinks he will remain in Sarasota when the Orioles break camp on Apr. 4.

MATUSZ STRUGGLES: Brian Matusz allowed a run and seven hits in five innings in the Orioles' 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies before 7,811 at Ed Smith Stadium.

Matusz was coming off two strong starts when he threw eight scoreless innings against the Phillies and Tigers.

He was helped by three double plays in the first three innings, but was sanguine about his progress.

"It's going to happen over the course of a season, multiple times. It's about trying to find a way to win, find a way to go as deep as I could, and keep grinding," Matusz said. "That's what I was able to do today."

Matusz has probably pitched well enough to earn a slot in the rotation, but neither he nor manager Buck Showalter is saying that.

"That's out of my control. All I can do is go out there every fifth day and work hard and battle and keep throwing zeros on the board and everything else will fall into place," Matusz said.

With Britton hurt, Matusz's place is more secure.

"Very few of our guys have enough track to record to go right through it to be make a call when you have the type of competition we have right now,"

Showalter said.

COMING UP: The Orioles host Toronto on Wednesday. Tommy Hunter, Armando Galarraga, Matt Lindstrom, Luis Ayala, Oscar Villarreal and Pat Neshek are scheduled for Baltimore. Kyle Drabek is Toronto's probable starter.

ODDS AND ENDS: Tsuyoshi Wada will pitch three innings in a minor league game on Thursday. ... Nick Markakis played right field for the first time this spring. He threw out the Phillies' Hunter Pence, trying to stretch a double into a triple. ... Showalter said that Brian Roberts continues to make progress, but he isn't counting on him playing in a game before the team leaves Florida. ... The Orioles have signed Dontrelle Willis to a minor-league contract.