One of the Orioles’ mysteries of 2012 was the disappearance of Zach Britton. Britton didn’t pitch for 17 days.
From Sept. 15 to the season’s last game when he worked an inning, Britton sat unused. He didn’t start, he didn’t pitch in relief.
In 2011, Britton was the team’s biggest winner, starting the season strongly and after a three-month meltdown, finishing it well, too.
His 2012 was delayed by a bad left shoulder, and he was left back in Norfolk after his rehab period was up. Manager Buck Showalter wanted Britton to earn his return-not feel he was entitled to it.
Britton was 5-3 with a 5.07 ERA. After four straight wins when he allowed just three runs in 28 2/3 innings, Britton reverted and gave up 10 runs in 7 1/3 innings in his next two starts.
He was active for the Wild Card game, but wasn’t for the Divisional Series though Showalter hinted he could have been up for the American League Championship Series.
Britton has lots of talent, but for now, doesn’t seem to project as one of the team’s frontline starters in 2013. A year ago, he looked to be one of the top three.
Next spring training will be an important one for Britton. He wants to escape from the Orioles’ witness protection program.