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Orioles closer Zach Britton shelved with recurring forearm discomfort

"He (Zach Britton) woke up with tightness in the forearm area Friday after the team returned from Boston," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

Orioles closer Zach Britton, just three days removed from returning from the disabled list, again felt discomfort in his left forearm Friday, and was sent by the club for a series of tests to determine the cause of the recurrence.

Britton returned from a forearm strain Tuesday and made two appearances, pitching scoreless one-inning outings Tuesday and Thursday at Fenway Park. But he woke up with tightness in the forearm area Friday after the team returned from Boston, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

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Showalter was lean on details following the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards.

"There's some talk about the next step to take with him," Showalter said. "He woke up this morning, felt it, felt some discomfort this morning. I guess we call it the night when we get back at 4 [a.m.] It got a little better as the day went on, but we're trying to decide what our next step is."

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Showalter said Britton was scheduled for an MRI on Friday night. The results of that test weren't available after Friday's game. Showalter indicated it was too early to tell whether Britton would need to make a return trip to the disabled list.

"How we proceed will probably be derived from those findings, just compare it to the one he just took," Showalter said. "… Same forearm strain I think. I talked to Zach today and Dr. [Mike] Jacobs and [head trainer] Richie [Bancells] and [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell]. Just trying to gather all the information as to which direction to go."

Britton was unavailable to pitch the ninth inning of the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards on Friday night as right-hander Brad Brach converted the save opportunity instead.

Brach, who converted his sixth save attempt of the season Friday, was 5-for-6 in save opportunities while Britton was on the DL.

Britton first felt pain in his forearm area while throwing a breaking ball on April 14 in Toronto. He went on the disabled list two days later, and made two minor league rehabilitation appearances at Double-A Bowie before he was activated from the DL prior to Tuesday's game in Boston.

At the time, the Orioles seemed optimistic that the injury wasn't serious, and X-rays and an MRI on his forearm and elbow corroborated that assumption, the team reported. Even though forearm strains can sometimes be precursors to elbow ligament reconstruction surgery, Britton said the tightness he felt was not elbow-related and closer to his wrist than his elbow.

Britton had a 13-pitch outing Tuesday, tossing a clean eighth inning in his first appearance back from the DL. He also pitched the ninth inning in a nonsave situation Thursday, throwing 15 pitches without incident in the Orioles' 8-3 series-ending win over the Boston Red Sox.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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