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Source: MRI on Orioles closer Zach Britton's knee shows no structural damage

Orioles closer Zach Britton watches from the dugout as teammate Miguel Castro finishes the ninth inning Wednesday.
Orioles closer Zach Britton watches from the dugout as teammate Miguel Castro finishes the ninth inning Wednesday. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

An MRI performed on Orioles closer Zach Britton's left knee Thursday revealed no structural damage, according to an industry source.

Though the results were positive, it appears that the club is still undetermined whether the problem will land Britton on the disabled list — there is effusion in the knee that is causing swelling — especially as the Orioles attempt to maneuver the rest of the month with a six-man bullpen before rosters expand Sept. 1.

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Britton, whose American League-record 60-consecutive-game save streak ended in the ninth inning of the Orioles' 8-7, 12-inning win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, said he didn't believe the problem was serious.

The closer has been pitching through the knee injury since 2014 — well before his save streak began — but he said he did feel extra soreness in the joint while warming up Wednesday. Britton said that while he's pitched through the soreness, there's been added discomfort the past two weeks.

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Even in victory, the Orioles just don't look like a playoff team.

But Britton also said he was planning on getting an MRI on the knee at the end of the season regardless and said getting the test now is more to get ahead of it in case he might need a procedure in the offseason or before the season ends if the Orioles fall out of playoff contention.

Manager Buck Showalter, conscious of the issue, has used Britton sparingly. Going into Wednesday's outing — in which Britton allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach base and allowed two runs in the ninth inning — Britton had pitched just 3 2/3 innings over the past two weeks.

The Orioles will likely have to make a move before Friday night's opener of a three-game series at Boston despite Thursday's day off because Showalter had to use five relievers to get through Wednesday's game.

Britton has dealt with several physical problems, pitching through the knee problem and turning his ankle multiple times, but avoided the disabled list until this year, when he spent most of the first half shelved with a left forearm strain.

Orioles closer Zach Britton blew his first save since Sept. 20, 2015, on Wednesday against Oakland.

Note: The start time for the Orioles' Labor Day home game against the Yankees on Sept. 4 has been moved from 1:35 p.m. to 2:05 p.m.

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