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Britton feels good day after first rehab outing

Special to MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton hasn't started a Major League game since 2013, instead taking ownership of the ninth inning as the Orioles' closer over the past four seasons. But there he was Tuesday night, warming up for the first inning of Class A Short-Season Aberdeen's home opener, his first rehab appearance since straining his left forearm in early May.

He turned to former teammate Mark Hendrickson, the IronBirds' pitching coach. It was Hendrickson's coaching debut.

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BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton hasn't started a Major League game since 2013, instead taking ownership of the ninth inning as the Orioles' closer over the past four seasons. But there he was Tuesday night, warming up for the first inning of Class A Short-Season Aberdeen's home opener, his first rehab appearance since straining his left forearm in early May.

He turned to former teammate Mark Hendrickson, the IronBirds' pitching coach. It was Hendrickson's coaching debut.

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"He was like, 'Yeah, please don't do anything stupid,'" Britton said.

He didn't. Britton threw a 12-pitch scoreless first inning, paving the way for the next step in his rehab -- outings with Class A Delmarva on Thursday and Saturday.

"I feel like I could pitch again today," Britton said Wednesday. "That's the best way to describe it."

Britton hasn't pitched for the Orioles since May 4 after a sterling 2016 campaign, when he didn't blow a single save in 47 tries. He was retroactively transferred to the 60-day disabled list Tuesday for roster space, but Britton and manager Buck Showalter both still expect him to return in early July.

The goal of the Aberdeen outing, Britton said, was to get himself comfortable with pitching during a live game. It was a mental hurdle. He's more focused on tangible results as he inches closer to his Major League return.

"Now as I go forward it's about commanding my sinker," Britton said.

Worth noting
Darren O'Day experienced no physical setbacks in a Wednesday afternoon simulated game, Showalter said. The right-hander, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on June 9, retroactive to June 7, due to a strained right shoulder, is expected to be activated Friday as long as he feels fine Thursday.

Before the injury, O'Day had a 3.86 ERA through 23 1/3 innings pitched.

Chris Davis received two platelet rich plasma injections Tuesday, which Showalter hopes will speed up the first baseman's recovery from a strained right oblique. Davis, who has hit 14 homers and recorded 26 RBIs this season, has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 14, retroactive to June 13.

The plan is for Davis to travel with the club to St. Petersburg on Friday, and then hang back in Sarasota, Fla., when the Orioles go to Toronto.

Joshua Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.

Baltimore Orioles, Zach Britton