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O's closer Zach Britton ruptures Achilles, out at least six months

O's closer Zach Britton ruptures Achilles, out at least six months

His exact timetable will be mapped out after he undergoes surgery, but he's looking at at least four to six months before he can return, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

The left-hander, who turns 30 on Friday, is arbitration eligible after making $11.4 million United States last season. First, the Orioles will be without their dominating closer for most of next season.

Speaking with Britton on Wednesday as he was still trying to wrap his head around the injury and its ramifications, he sounded like a player prepared to be released. Only one year after his move, Britton would be named an All-Star reliever. In fact, Britton was the best closer in baseball in 2016, finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting after going 47 for 47 in saves with a 0.54 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.

As Rosenthal notes, there has been a lot of trade interest surrounding Britton, but the Orioles are nearly certainly going to have to keep the 29-year-old reliever now. In his first full season in the bullpen, Britton pitched to a 1.45 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 37 saves in 76.1 innings pitched.

Britton, 29, looks unlikely to see the mound until the second half of the season.

Unfortunately for Britton his 2017 campaign was cut short due to injury. His struggles past year, coupled with his forearm woes, meant that Baltimore should have been looking to move on.

If they feel Britton, who turns 30 on Friday, is a big part of their future, the Orioles could attempt to engage him in extension talks next month, offering to buy out this season in an effort to keep him for the long haul. Hopefully for all involved Britton can return at the 6-month mark, as originally prognosticated, and show a glimpse of his 2016 standout performance.

The news about Britton is about the worst thing possible for the Orioles.


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