Orioles pitcher Zach Britton went into his second throwing session today feeling optimistic about the left-shoulder inflammation that’s been bothering him since August.
Britton, 24, threw for this first time this spring Thursday in a long-toss session. He’s planning to throw again today. If all goes well, he will throw on back-to-back days for the first time Monday and Tuesday, take Wednesday off, then throw Thursday and Friday.
It seems like this is just the beginning of Britton's "throwing progression," as the club called it. He threw from a mound just once this offseason and doesn't figure to do so here in camp for about two weeks.
Britton couldn’t seem to shake the pain in the shoulder, despite having gone on and off anti-inflammatory medication since returning from the disabled list in last August and shutting himself down for two weeks after his first offseason throwing session.
But Britton said the diagnosis he received from Dr. Keith Meister at TMI Sports Medicine was encouraging. His MRI revealed no structural damage, and a new medicine seems to be working.
“I was thinking the worst, because I’ve never had a shoulder problem before, so you obviously think of the worst,” Britton said. “[Meister] came back and said it looks healthy, it looks like a healthy pitcher’s shoulder. Everything’s good, everything’s strong. He said that’s what you get for pitching so long in your life. It’s not a natural thing, so you get inflammation and it builds up over time. Some guys get it when they’re 16. Some guys get it when they’re 30 or 40. It just depends on the person’s body.”
Britton added the inflammation will likely be something he will have to monitor throughout his career.
“He said this is something that could go away for five years and creep back up on you,” Britton said. “It just happens over time. But he said it’s nothing serious. It’s just something you have to take care of right when it happens.”
Despite leading the Orioles in wins last year as a rookie, compiling and 11-11 record with a 4.61 ERA in 28 starts, Britton still must compete for a rotation spot with more than a dozen starting candidates in camp (there are 31 total pitchers on the spring training roster).