BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Zach Britton will try to make the most of his holiday despite some seriously tough luck. Britton, whose name was buzzing in potential trade rumors this Hot Stove season, ruptured his right Achilles on Tuesday night during an offseason workout. The injury will sideline him until
BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Zach Britton will try to make the most of his holiday despite some seriously tough luck. Britton, whose name was buzzing in potential trade rumors this Hot Stove season, ruptured his right Achilles on Tuesday night during an offseason workout. The injury will sideline him until at least June and puts his future status with the Orioles in jeopardy.
But the lefty, a popular fixture in the clubhouse and among the fanbase, can't do anything about that injury now. Instead, Britton -- who underwent surgery on Thursday -- will try to put his frustration aside and enjoy some fun. While Britton spends most of the offseason in California, the reliever -- who has two children with his wife, Courtney -- seeks out the snow for the holidays. Below, Britton opens up about some of his favorite Christmas memories, weird traditions and family time.
MLB.com: Growing up, what was your favorite Christmas gift?
Britton: When I was little, Christmas was the time you got your new baseball equipment. I remember there was a time Wilson had these pump-up gloves that literally came with a little thing you can use to pump them up. Some big leaguers had them -- it was the coolest thing. One Christmas I got it. I actually still might have it in the closet somewhere.
MLB.com: Do you have any special Christmas memories?
Britton: We were out in California most of the time. A few times we went to the St. Louis area, where my grandparents were. That was pretty cool. They usually had snow there, and they had a little lake behind their house. My brothers and I would always play out there, and we'd try to run across the ice, which wasn't a good idea. It was really cool to go there though and see the snow.
MLB.com: What about any holiday traditions now?
Britton: We have a home in Lake Tahoe; we love the snow. I don't ski or do anything, but it's just nice. We call it our Christmas home because we keep it Christmas-decorated all year. Since we only go in the winter, we leave it Christmas-themed.
One of our our new traditions, there's a town [on the drive to Tahoe] called Lee Vining and a restaurant called Nicely's, and we always stop there and eat. It's nothing special, but something my wife and I started a few years ago. We went there first in 2014. I think my mother-in-law had to stop for gas or something. And then I had a good year that year [for the Orioles]. So we were like, "Oh, we've got to go back to Nicely's." It's always the same lady there. I think she owns the place. It's sort of a time warp there. But it's kind of a cool tradition. It's almost a superstition at this point.
MLB.com: I'm sure Christmas is even more fun now that you have kids [son, Zander, and daughter, Zilah]?
Britton: Yeah, Zilah just turned 1, so she's not really getting much of the holidays yet. But Zander is 2, and he really likes to build snowmen and go sledding. He likes to sled down the driveway. It's nice to be in the snow and sit with your family and relax. Coming from California and then growing up in Texas, it's always hot, so it's nice to enjoy some cold weather and reset before the season starts.
MLB.com: Will Zander get some baseball stuff from Santa?
Britton: Yeah, he will. But he's also into trucks and cars and stuff. He is getting into baseball some though. Manny [Machado] had him in the cage one day and taught him how to hit. So he always does the stuff Manny taught him. [Laughs.] He asks me now, "Are we going ball-ball?" I tell him, "It's the offseason, so we aren't going. No ball-ball for a while."
MLB.com: One final question because this can't be a holiday Q&A without food. What are you guys eating come Christmastime?
Britton: We do a homemade family chili. In Tahoe they have a little village and bakeries there, they have these mini doughnuts there that you buy a dozen at a time. They are probably increasing the fat of your body as you eat them, but it's so cold outside and they are so hot. It's so good. That's something we always do, too.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.