There are early signs of trouble in Baltimore. Orioles closer Zach Britton, the best closer in baseball last season, is headed for the 10-day disabled list with what the team called left forearm soreness.
The soreness occurred during Friday's appearance when he threw a curveball. For all pitchers, forearm tightness can sometimes be a warning sign of looming issues with the elbow. As fantasy owners and baseball fans know, anytime a pitcher's elbow comes up, Tommy John Surgery becomes the immediate fear.
Baltimore is nowhere near that stage right now. Manager Buck Showalter expressed hope to reporters that the team's All Star closer could return when first eligible 10 days from now. But given Britton's importance to this team and the nature of the injury and the vague "soreness" tag, fantasy owners should be prepared for a longer absence.
Britton converted all five of his save opportunities to begin the season, though his most recent appearance was his worst. In that Friday appearance, Britton surrendered three hits and an earned run on 21 pitches.
With Britton sidelined, it's expected that Baltimore turns to Brad Brach to close. Brach should be scooped up off the waiver given the value of saves and opportunities he should have on a good team. So far this season, Brach struck out 10 batters across six shutout innings with just one hit allowed.