Britton back with O's for first time this year


BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles activated reliever Zach Britton, who has been out all season rehabbing the Achilles tendon he ruptured in December.

“I’m anxious to get back into a big league game,” Britton said. “I accomplished everything I needed to on the rehab assignment.”

In five minor league appearances over the past couple weeks, the veteran lefty posted a 1.69 ERA, striking out six and walking none over 5.1 innings. His past two outings came on back-to-back days.

A two-time All-Star closer, Britton placed fourth in Cy Young voting in 2016, when he went 47-for-47 in save opportunities and finished with a 0.54 ERA. In 2017, he battled a forearm injury that forced him to the disabled list twice and limited him to 38 games.

Despite expectations that the Orioles would trade Britton last summer, a deal never materialized. A free agent after this season, the 30-year-old hurler could be a valuable trade commodity this year for a Baltimore team that has already fallen out of contention and currently has the worst record in the majors. In the meantime, manager Buck Showalter said he’d prefer not to rush Britton back into the closer’s role.

“In a perfect world, I’d like to not have to do it right out of the chute,” Showalter said. “I would rather him work his way into it with an outing or two. But sometimes the competition and the game doesn’t cooperate.”

Righty Brad Brach has served as Baltimore’s closer this season. In 24 games, Brach is 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA. He has recorded 10 saves in 12 opportunities. As for Britton, he doesn’t care how or when he’s used, just so long as he’s used.

“I’m here to pitch and do well,” Britton said prior to Baltimore’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox. “That’s my goal now. We’ll see how it goes from here. I’m just looking forward to playing. Wherever I’m at by the end of the year I’m at.”

To make room for Britton on the active roster, the Orioles placed right-handed reliever Pedro Araujo on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow strain and transferred outfielder Colby Rasmus (hip flexor) to the 60-day DL.

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