Oblique no longer an issue for Britton

O's closer feeling fine, will throw from a mound soon

Oblique no longer an issue for Britton

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Zach Britton's oblique soreness is gone. A day after he threw a bullpen session on Monday, the Orioles' star closer complained of discomfort in his left side.

Britton said on Sunday morning that with the pain gone, he was ready to get started.

"Nothing beyond today, but I'm going to go out there [for] team stretch, and then play some catch," Britton said.

Had he not had the injury, Britton still would not have pitched by now.

"When we came to camp we had about a week before we were in games, so that's a little bit quicker than normal," Britton said. "There wasn't any plan to throw before the second or third, maybe a little later." 

Manager Buck Showalter said that he hasn't decided when Britton will get into a game.

"We're not there, yet. I would think it would [be] early March, depending on how you define early March. Before the 15th?" Showalter joked.

"He should be on a full mound shortly if everything goes well today." 

Last season, Britton was 47-for-47 in save opportunities.

"We had time, and based on the innings I need now, we had all the time in the world to an extent," Britton said. "Obviously, if this was the middle of March, then I think you're a little bit more worried about it, but I didn't think it was anything serious and it's gone away in about, what, four or five days? Just kind of reassures [me] it wasn't anything really serious. Just some soreness that needed to get out of there."

Odds and ends 

• Right-hander Joe Gunkel, who was supposed to pitch in Sunday's game, is out with an upper respiratory infection.

• Right-hander Logan Ondrusek (ankle), who has yet to pitch, is nearing a return, Showalter said.

Rich Dubroff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.