SARASOTA, Fla. — Zach Britton doesn’t believe he’s ever made a start on just three days’ rest. But it’s spring training and everything is unconventional. So after a two-inning stint Monday, Britton was asked to make the start Friday at Ed Smith Stadium against a Boston Red Sox team that included no regulars.
The left-hander made the most of the opportunity in the Baltimore Orioles’ 3-3 tie with Boston. Fighting for the open fifth starter spot, he worked 32 / 3 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and walking two — with both walks coming in his final frame.
“I wasn’t anticipating that. I had never done it before,” Britton said of the two outings in five days. “We were working on things. We’re past the working on things phase. Now, [outings are] getting extended.”
Britton has allowed two earned runs in 82 / 3 Grapefruit League innings, which doesn’t include a rough outing against Spain’s World Baseball Classic team. He reached 93 mph with his fastball Friday, and his sinker was particularly on, helping him get six outs on groundballs.
Because he had pitched earlier this week, Britton was on a strict pitch count. He threw 60 pitches, 41 of them for strikes.
“That was the best he has thrown this spring,” said Orioles Manager Buck Showalter, who is not handicapping the fifth-starter’s race. “That was impressive. Real crisp. Good to see. He could have gotten deep in a ballgame today.”
The Orioles traded minor league infielder Mike Flacco, the younger brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, to the Red Sox on Friday afternoon for cash considerations or a player to be named.
Flacco, 26, played mainly at Class A Frederick last year, batting .218 in 103 games. He also played four games at Class AA Bowie and was expected to compete there for the starting first base job. Flacco was drafted in the 31st round of the 2009 amateur draft out of CCBC-Catonsville.
“Mike had a few years with us, and the Red Sox had some interest,” Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette said. “And we thought this would be a better opportunity for him. We talk to clubs every day to see if we have a match, and on this one we had a match.”
Baltimore trailed Boston by two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday when Ryan Flaherty rescued his team from a loss, once again, in the late innings.
Flaherty, who is hoping to make the club as a utility infielder-reserve outfielder, homered off Oscar Villarreal to tie the score at 3. The game ended one batter later in a tie, giving the Orioles an 11-5-2 record this spring.
The two-run shot was Flaherty’s third homer of the spring. He also had a game-winning, three-run blast against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 7.
— Baltimore Sun