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Britton introduced, makes Yanks debut

Lefty reliever tosses perfect inning vs. KC after being acquired from O's
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- As the Yankees' front office was busy Thursday afternoon acquiring starter J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays, the other newly acquired AL East hurler entered his new clubhouse for the first time.

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NEW YORK -- As the Yankees' front office was busy Thursday afternoon acquiring starter J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays, the other newly acquired AL East hurler entered his new clubhouse for the first time.

Video: Britton discusses joining Yankees, the clubhouse

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Left-handed reliever Zach Britton had spent his entire professional career with the Orioles since Baltimore selected him in the third round of the 2006 MLB Draft. Britton's uniform still has No. 53 on the back, but it is now covered in pinstripes.

"It was a little weird to be honest," Britton said of being in a new clubhouse. "I was with the Orioles for 12 years, so coming into a new clubhouse where you're the new guy, it's like the first day of school. You're not sure where you go or what you should do, but these guys have been really welcoming. I knew quite a bit of them from some All-Star Games. That makes it a little bit easier to break the ice. But it just seems like it's going to be a great team."

Tweet from @zbritton: Excited and Honored to put on the pinstripes. @Yankees pic.twitter.com/rfyvsfIir6

The Yankees' bullpen leads the Majors with a 2.78 ERA this season. Although he is being thrown into the mix with relievers like Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Chad Green, Britton said he is ready to take on any role the Yankees need him to play and is not worried about his transition to the Big Apple.

That confidence was on display in New York's 7-2 win over Kansas City on Thursday, as the lefty turned in a sterling Yankees debut by working a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout.

Video: KC@NYY: Yanks bats back Gray's start, Britton's debut

"I think the best thing about coming here is I've pitched here before," Britton said. "I don't know if it's any harder to pitch here as a home player than it is as a visitor. I mean, this is a pretty tough place to come in as a visiting player and perform. I've always enjoyed coming here. So I don't think that transition is going to be hard, but definitely I want to make a good first impression. You want to come here, and this team is winning. You don't want to be a hindrance to that. I want to go out there and help this team get a little further than they are now and catch the Boston Red Sox."

Video: Sights and Sounds: Zach Britton Press Conference

Britton began the season on the 60-day disabled list, recovering from right Achilles surgery, but went 1-0 with four saves and a 3.45 ERA in 16 relief appearances with the Orioles. He has thrown scoreless ball in each of his past nine appearances.

"I'm about eight months removed from Achilles surgery," Britton said. "The strength was kind of an issue coming back. I lost a lot of weight after the surgery, a lot of strength. As I've put on that weight, a lot of the strength has come back. The velocity is coming back. I'm starting to feel more like myself. My mindset here is I am who I am. Hopefully I'll get better, and I think I will. I've seen signs this last month, and go out there and just pitch the way I'm capable of pitching."

Tweet from @Yankees: That cap looks good on you, @zbritton. pic.twitter.com/w0xJbjekJG

With Happ expected to join the team on Friday, the Yankees are making it a priority to make sure both of their new players feel comfortable at their new home.

"I think part of our job is getting them acclimated, and that's not just between the lines," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I've been in their shoes before to where you come over at the Deadline and there's a lot of other factors that go into it. It's not just the baseball, it's moving families, moving places you've been. So I think it's incumbent on all of us to help get them acclimated and as comfortable as possible as quickly as possible so they can really get into their normal routine -- start to really feel a part of the team, get comfortable so that when they go out between the white lines, it's not unusual and something that's so foreign to them."

New York has acquired two arms in the span of three days, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he isn't done analyzing what's left on the market with the non-waiver Trade Deadline just five days away.

"This time of year we are definitely active, as everybody is, whether you're contending or not," Cashman said. "Everybody is trying to figure ways to improve their roster, whether it's for the near term or the future. So we're planning on that on every level, and [we'll] see if there's anything else we can run into that we feel comfortable enough to recommend to ownership and hopefully improve this franchise again. We are fully engaged as everybody else is. I can't predict how it's going to play out, but we definitely satisfied some needs here in recent days and hopefully they're beneficial moves."

Roster move
Prior to Thursday's series opener against the Royals, the Yankees optioned right-hander Luis Cessa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and selected the contract of outfielder Shane Robinson to fill the roster spot until Happ arrives in New York.

This date in Yankees history
July 26, 1928: Bob Meusel hit for the cycle in a 12-1, 12-inning win at Detroit as the Yankees scored 11 runs in the top of the 12th. Meusel became the first player in Major League history to hit for the cycle three times in a career.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Zach Britton