Orioles star closer Zach Britton may miss between 45 and 60 days with a left forearm strain, a source told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Neither Britton nor the club confirmed the possible two-month timeline, though both are optimistic that he will return before the All-Star break.
Britton, who has been the 10-day disabled list twice since April 16 and missed almost a month due to the injury, visited Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday to get a second opinion on his arm. On Tuesday night, he told Ghiroli in a phone interview that he did not receive a firm timeline from ElAttrache, a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who is also the head team physician for the Dodgers and the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, as to how long he will be sidelined.
"The only hard time that ElAttrache gave me was saying, 'Let's take 10 days or so and not throw,' which would put me at 14 days [of rest]," Britton said to Ghiroli. "At that point, if my forearm feels good and I have no symptoms, I can start a throwing program. Anything after that is based on how I feel. There's no hard timetable because it's kind of a unique injury."
Britton, who admitted that he came off the DL too soon, also said he had two MRIs done and saw a hand specialist in California. The two-time All-Star said the strain “is a weaker strain” and he would “be shocked” if he was not back sooner than 45 days.
Britton, who was placed on the DL for the second time on May 2, has converted 54 consecutive saves, which is tied for the longest streak in AL history and tied for the second-longest in baseball history. Erig Gagne holds the record for the most saves converted in a row with 84.
The loss of Britton is a big one for the Orioles, who are first in the AL East with a 22-10 record. The Orioles will keep using relievers Brad Brach and Darren O'Day at the end of games until he comes back.