Zach Britton couldn’t imagine he’d have to wait until mid-July to make his first major league start this season, but the Orioles left-hander — who will make that first start Tuesday against the Twins — said he’s a better pitcher for it.
Britton, who led the Orioles in wins last season as a rookie with an 11-11 record and 4.61 ERA, spent the entire spring and the first two months of the season recovering from left shoulder discomfort. But while recovering, he worked with pitching development director Rick Peterson as well as pitching rehab coordinator Chris Correnti.
“There are drills I’ve been doing every day whether it’s with Peterson or not,” Britton said. “I have a routine every day. When I show up to the park I have something I’m going to get better at. The main focus is just repeating my delivery, and there are drills I can do every single day. Last year, I didn’t have a great routine. And it kind of showed by the end of last season. Now I feel like I have a really good routine and [Chris Tillman] has a really good routine and that’s just going to help us maintain success and when we do have maybe a bad outing it’s not going to be four or five outings. We’re going to be able to correct it right away.”
Britton said Peterson helped him make two key adjustments. He’s returned to pitching off the third base side of the rubber, something he did early last season — Britton was 6-3 with a 2.93 ERA in April and May last year. He’s also began to pitch with a longer stride, which he said has taken pressure off his arm.
“It will probably feel like Opening Day,” Britton said. “But I feel a lot more confident going into this year because I know I’ve prepared the right way and my delivery’s where it needs to be. So there’s a lot of confidence from that aspect coming into the start. So I think I’m more relaxed and confident going into starts now that I have that.”
Hammel’s surgery successful
Right-hander Jason Hammel had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Monday, performed by Orioles team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens. He’s still expected to miss at least a month.
“Like all surgeries, you get in there and find some things,” Showalter said. “He had a couple loose bodies they cleaned out too while they were in there, but for the most part they found what they were expecting. The return date is still what we thought it would be.”
Around the horn
Left-handed pitcher Dana Eveland cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, where he will join the starting rotation for the Tides. … Catcher Ronny Paulino accepted an outright assignment to Norfolk instead of becoming a free agent. … First baseman Nick Johnson tried to take batting practice Monday and felt discomfort in his injured right wrist. … Right-hander Stu Pomeranz, who suffered a setback in his recovery from an oblique injury by tweaking his back, resumed throwing Monday.