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Britton throws 15 pitches in BP session

Reliever aiming to pitch a sim game next week
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Zach Britton took another step forward in his rehab from offseason Achilles surgery, throwing 15 pitches with outfielder Craig Gentry at the plate. It marked the first time Britton has faced hitters, and the plan is for him to throw a simulated game next week when the team is in Chicago.

"You get a little bit of a read where you're at," Britton said of facing an actual hitter. "I was happy. Threw some good sinkers, spun a couple of breaking balls. Just another step in the right direction."

BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Zach Britton took another step forward in his rehab from offseason Achilles surgery, throwing 15 pitches with outfielder Craig Gentry at the plate. It marked the first time Britton has faced hitters, and the plan is for him to throw a simulated game next week when the team is in Chicago.

"You get a little bit of a read where you're at," Britton said of facing an actual hitter. "I was happy. Threw some good sinkers, spun a couple of breaking balls. Just another step in the right direction."

The lefty's plan for the rest of this week is to take two days off and throw another batting-practice session. This one will likely be 30 pitches.

"Throw 15, sit down, throw another 15. And the goal is get the delivery where I want it to be, continue to feel good with the sinker and breaking ball," Britton said. "Things you would do in the spring. Continue to get a feel for my pitches, command the ball. Just things like that."

Britton said he hopes the injury stuff is in the past, and the focus is on returning to help the team. The target date is early June, and Britton said he'd have a few sim games before the club maps out a specific plan.

Meanwhile, reliever Darren O'Day (right elbow) is "close" to returning and is eligible to be activated at any time, with his minimum stay on the 10-day disabled list ending on Tuesday. Starter Chris Tillman (low back strain) will head to the club's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday to continue his rehab.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Zach Britton, Darren O'Day, Chris Tillman