Britton's return may come by Monday

Lefty will appear in second straight Minors game Friday; O'Day set to return Saturday

June 8th, 2018

TORONTO -- The Orioles have changed their plans with Zach Britton's rehab, and his return date could move up to as soon as Monday.

Instead of pitching back-to-back outings this weekend, Britton will pitch again on Friday night for Triple-A Norfolk. Since he pitched an inning on Thursday, Friday's outing will be Britton's back-to-back test.

"That's a little deviation from his schedule, but it's too good an opportunity," manager Buck Showalter said prior to the Orioles' game in Toronto on Friday night.

Showalter said that this decision was made in conjunction with Britton himself, and made easier by the fact that he needed just seven pitches to get through his appearance on Thursday.

"He's had a game where he pitched and then went back out for the second inning," Showalter said. "He's had two-inning outings with the sim games. The back-to-back was the last hurdle we wanted to cross."

With Britton due to become a free agent and the Orioles sitting well out of the playoff race, the 30-year-old left-hander could also become one of the trade market's most attractive bullpen arms ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"He's in good shape, physically," Showalter said. "It's just a baseball decision now. Physically, he's ready to go."

In other bullpen news, right-hander is with the Orioles in Toronto and will be activated on Saturday. O'Day last pitched on May 4 before hitting the DL with a hyperextended right elbow. He has been rehabbing with Class A Advanced Frederick, where he threw a clean inning on Thursday night, striking out all three batters he faced.