TORONTO — Reliever Darren O’Day is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list before Saturday’s game after making his second minor league rehabilitation appearance Thursday night with High-A Frederick.
O’Day struck out the side in the seventh inning against Potomac, allowing one base runner on a hit batter, getting much better results than he did in his first rehab outing, when he walked three of the five batters he faced pitching for the Keys on Tuesday.
“The first game I went down there I didn’t pitch real well,” O’Day said. “I just couldn’t find the strike zone. I think I was just too excited that day. … I pitched better [Thursday] and I feel pretty good. I anticipate I’ll be activated here pretty soon. … I felt a lot better yesterday. I had an idea of where my pitches were going. I’m glad to be back. We’re all together so much here that you kind of take each other for granted. You’re gone for three days and everybody acts like you’ve been gone for a month. It’s good to be back. It’s good to be missed.”
Friday marked five weeks since O’Day’s last appearance with the Orioles on May 4. The his recovery from a hyperextended right elbow — a freak injury that occurred when another reliever bumped into him while he was stretching in the bullpen — took longer than anticipated, but O’Day said he took just a few more days than the 30 days reliever Tom Wilhelmsen took to recover from a hyperextended elbow in 2015.
“I’m a few days past that, but I’m pushing senior citizenship here in baseball so … Yeah, it just takes a while,” O’Day said. “The joint was traumatized and eventually it got better. I woke up one day and it didn’t hurt anymore, so I feel good.
“Nobody really knew [how long it would take], so for somebody to say it took longer really isn’t fair because nobody knew. It’s a pretty uncommon injury.”
The Orioles must make roster space to add O’Day before Saturday’s game.
Britton timetable moved up
Orioles closer Zach Britton could now be activated from the DL as soon as Monday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said before Friday’s game.
Britton needed just seven pitches to complete a scoreless inning for Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday. Initially, Britton was scheduled to get three days off and then throw back-to-back days Monday and Tuesday before being activated.
But because Britton’s outing Thursday was so efficient, the Orioles decided to have him pitch again Friday for Norfolk to get in his back-to-back outings — the final hurdle before he could be activated.
Britton allowed one run on two hits pitching the sixth inning for Norfolk on Friday, allowing a double and RBI single to open the frame before getting a double-play ground ball and strikeout to end his 14-pitch outing.
“It’s just a perfect time for him, talking to him,” Showalter said. “It’s his idea as much as anybody else’s. So that’s a little deviation from his schedule, but that’s a little too good an opportunity.
“He’s has a game where he’s pitched and then gone out for a second inning. He’s had two-inning outings with the sim game, so the back-to-back was the last hurdle you wanted to cross, so if things go well tonight, and it’s not purely statistical. He feels great. He said today was like he hadn’t even pitched last night. He’s in good shape physically. It’s just a baseball decision now.”
Showalter said that Britton could be now available for Monday’s series opener against Boston at home, but he could also take another rehab outing if he needs that day and return Wednesday against the Red Sox.
Britton has missed the entire season recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered during offseason workouts in December.
“Physically, he’s ready to go,” Showalter said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. It’s been impressive to watch how him and the trainers and the doctors have gone about [it].”
Outfielder Colby Rasmus had his first hit on his rehab assignment with Frederick, going 1-for-4 against Potomac on Thursday. Rasmus entered Friday 1-for-18 with seven strikeouts and a walk in five rehab games.