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Britton hopes to make spring debut Tuesday

Closer has been sidelined by back spasms, expects to be ready for Opening Day
Special to MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles closer Zach Britton expects to make his spring debut on Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

Britton, whose first appearance has been delayed because of discomfort in his left oblique, expects to be ready for the Orioles' April 3 opener.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles closer Zach Britton expects to make his spring debut on Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

Britton, whose first appearance has been delayed because of discomfort in his left oblique, expects to be ready for the Orioles' April 3 opener.

"I threw a bullpen yesterday, and I'll throw live BP tomorrow, and then the schedule is [a] game," Britton said Saturday.

"I feel good after yesterday, so I'm itching to get into a game. I think that's what [manager Buck Showalter] wanted. He didn't want to get me back too soon, so definitely I feel like I've been ready for the last few days to get into a game."

Britton, who converted all 47 of his save opportunities a year ago, is hoping that shortstop J.J. Hardy -- who hasn't played this spring because of back spasms -- will play on Tuesday as well.

"It seems like it's been a long Spring Training already. I haven't gotten into games and [I've been] watching all of them. At this point, I'm like, 'I want to get ready for the season,' and I feel like the sooner I get into games, the faster spring goes. I'm kind of tired of being in the training room," Britton said.

Opening Day will be 20 days after Britton is scheduled to pitch for the first time. He says it's enough time to get ready.

"I think so," Britton said. "I think last year I threw [eight] innings. I think the way we've got it mapped out, I'll be right around eight, nine innings, including a two-inning Minor League game

Rich Dubroff is a contributor for MLB.com.

Baltimore Orioles, Zach Britton