Britton to DL with left forearm tightness

Britton to DL with left forearm tightness

TORONTO -- Zach Britton is hopeful the left forearm strain -- which saw him land on the disabled list on Sunday -- won't keep him out long term.

Britton was placed on the 10-day disabled list and reliever Stefan Crichton was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, in a corresponding move. Crichton made his big league debut in Sunday's 11-4 win over the Blue Jays.

"Talking with the medical people, it seems like its maybe a forearm strain. All the other tests are showing pretty good," said Britton, who has never had arm issues previously. "I've still got good strength in the joint, there's no issue down near the elbow, this is away from the elbow. It's closer to my wrist if anything, which is a good sign, apparently.

"We'll take the 10 days and kind of see how it is. Hopefully this goes away pretty soon and by the time we get back home hopefully I'll be able to get into some games."

Britton threw just two breaking balls in his 21-pitch save on Friday, a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays, which is when he first felt the tightness.

The 29-year-old left-hander has converted 54 straight save opportunities, tied for the second-longest American League streak of all time. Five of those saves have come this season. 

"I think if anything, talking with Caleb [Joseph] a little bit, it was more of a finish on pitches," Britton said. "Just kind of wasn't there. The breaking ball definitely felt like it wasn't there, I got tight.

"Didn't feel any popping or anything like that. Just tightened up on me. I threw fastballs and definitely didn't feel anything, I couldn't finish my pitches, but velocity was good so I didn't really think anything of it until I came in [to the clubhouse] and had a hard time squeezing my hand."

Since the start of the 2014 season, Britton has converted 125 saves and carries a 1.38 ERA along with a 0.94 WHIP.

He's eligible to return from the DL on April 26 against the Tampa Bay Rays, and is hoping to avoid a lengthy rehab assignment.

"Arm strength is already there, we were talking -- the [velocity] isn't down or anything," Britton said. "The [velocity] is kind of what it is so I don't feel like I'm going to need to do a back-to-back [bullpen session].

"I think really it's about playing catch and getting off the mound. If it feels good then maybe have to get an inning down in the Minors somewhere, but from a build-up standpoint, I don't really think that's going to be an issue."

At first it was thought Britton would return to Baltimore for an MRI, but he will now travel with the team to Cincinnati, where the O's have an off-day on Monday, and receive treatment.

Zinkie on Britton's DL stint

Fantasy spin -- Zachary Finkelstein
A top-tier closer with 125 saves, a 1.38 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP since the outset of '14, Britton will leave a major hole in fantasy lineups during his time on the disabled list. The southpaw's owners should scan the waiver wire immediately for O's righty Brad Brach, the favorite to handle Baltimore's ninth-inning duties in Britton's absence. Since the beginning of last year, Brach has posted a remarkable 1.91 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP and a 10.8 K/9 rate. Owners can also look to pick up stoppers such as Joaquin Benoit, Neftali Feliz or Brandon Kintzler.

Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Orioles on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.