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Orioles closer Zach Britton to throw off half-mound Friday at Camden Yards

Orioles beat writer Jon Meoli recaps the 13-8 loss Thursday to the Tigers. (Jon Meoli / Baltimore Sun video)

DETROIT — Orioles closer Zach Britton will take a minor milestone step forward in his recovery from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon Friday when he throws off a half-mound for the first time.

The Orioles have a half-mound inside at Camden Yards, and all parties are excited for him to take this next step.

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"That's a good step for us," manager Buck Showalter said. "We'll do that a couple times. If that goes well, we'll proceed to the next [step]. We'll probably proceed to the mound if that goes well. I know he's excited about putting his foot on the rubber, a real mound."

Struggling Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, who entered Thursday with three hits this season, sat Thursday and could face a spell on the bench to get things back on track with the Orioles facing four right-handers this weekend.

Britton, who is on the 60-day disabled list, is eligible to come off on May 27. Showalter has said often in the spring and now in the regular season that he's been ahead of schedule. But after Britton rushed back some last year from a forearm injury and missed two months because of it, the team is using the fact that he can't come back before May 28 to not rush him.

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Britton has been traveling with the team for his rehabilitation and is on a prescribed throwing program, but hasn't toed a mound of any kind as part of that.

Around the horn

Showalter said he's noticed the success former Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty has had with the Atlanta Braves. Flaherty hit his first home run of the season Wednesday and entered Thursday leading the National League with a .365 average. "You love to see good people do well," Showalter said. "The National League fits him well. It was a good career move for him. He'd be good on any club. He's a good guy, a good teammate and he always finds a way to contribute." … UMBC men's basketball coach Ryan Odom will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Friday's game against the Cleveland Indians.

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