Zach Britton

Orioles’ rotation battle


As I’ve said before, yesterday was the lone scheduled off day for the Orioles in spring training (each team gets one). Spring training itself is in effect a miniature season given the number of games played; so with that said yesterday was kind of a miniature all-star break. Hopefully everyone had the opportunity to re-charge their batteries to get ready for the long-haul in the second half! (Incidentally, the miniature season concept is also true in NFL preseason, as they play four games – roughly 25% of the number of regular season games.)

As we went into the off-day/break, the Orioles got some sobering news about two of their potential starters. Alfredo Simon was lifted from Sunday night’s game with the Yankees after only two innings when he felt soreness in his previously injured groin. According to reports, Buck Showalter and Rick Adair noticed Simon carrying himself gingerly in the second inning, and they decided to pull him. One thing that does give me some hope for Simon is that Showalter said that had this been a regular season game he might have considered leaving him in the game, however given that it’s spring training he erred on the side of caution. Again to draw a comparison with the NFL, we hear this all the time with players in that “if it were a regular season game [insert name] would be playing.”

Zach Britton was scheduled to throw three innings in a minor league game against the Twins’ single-A affiliate yesterday, but was scratched due to shoulder soreness. Britton of course was hampered at the start of spring training due to soreness in his shoulder, and now we’re seeing it again. It’s unclear what the timetable on Britton is going to be, however mlb.com’s Oriole beat writer Brittany Ghiroli sent out this tweet last night saying that Britton was not expected to be ready for the start of the season. There are varying opinions as to whether or not Britton was going to be in the rotation or not, however needless to say he showed a lot of promise early in his rookie season by starting so hot out of the gate. He spent some time on the DL last summer due to this same shoulder inflamation that’s now coming back to bite him here in spring training.

The whole idea behind this year’s spring training was to be that the Orioles would bring a lot of pitchers into camp, and take the five best ones north with them. That’s still the plan, however needless to say these setbacks are concerning for these particular players. I’m no doctor, however given the fact that the Birds have the depth that they have I might consider looking into surgically repairing Britton’s shoulder now (if that’s an option) to ensure long term viability. That way the O’s aren’t playing this “wait and see if it gets better” game which ultimately might make things worse when he comes back. As for Simon, groin injuries really are a “wait and see” game for the most part. I think that Britton ultimately had a better shot at the rotation than Simon, however this injury certainly does hurt his viability as trade bait if the O’s decided to go that route. Ultimately for all of these guys, if you have a fever the only prescription is…more cowbell!

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