BALTIMORE -- In an effort to keep rookie Zach Britton's innings in check, the Orioles will skip his next scheduled start on Tuesday in Toronto and go with right-hander Chris Jakubauskas instead.
"We knew all along we were going to try and give him some spots here and there that would stretch out the innings that we're going to be able to use him this year," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Britton, who has already thrown 82 innings in 13 starts, second only to ace Jeremy Guthrie.
Given that the Orioles want Britton to pitch in September and the Blue Jays have fared well against left-handed pitching this season, the move makes sense to give the 23-year-old a extra few days' rest. Britton said on Sunday that he understood the situation, and he will make his next start on Friday against the Washington Nationals.
"I know they are doing it for a good reason," Britton said of being skipped. "It's not anything other than trying to get me to throw in September -- and even October, if we are in contention. So, it's a good goal to have. Obviously, I've never thrown that many innings before, and I don't want to be done in August and sit around all season and not be able to throw. It's just something I have to deal with, and I knew it was going to happen, so I'm not frustrated at all."
Given that Britton's career high in the Minors is 153 1/3 innings, the organization has targeted the 175-180 range this season. To do that, Britton -- who has a 3.18 ERA -- will probably be skipped a few more times so that he can avoid being shut down a month early.
"It's kind of one in the same, the physical and the mental part of [pitching in September]," Showalter said. "That's one of the challenges that young pitchers have, is all of a sudden the season is not over in August and you got to keep pitching. We hope one day it's in October, too."
Britton (6-4) threw a bullpen on Sunday and said that he will stay on the same schedule he's been on, including the possibility of throwing to live hitters on Tuesday.
"I feel good," Britton said, when asked where he is physically. "I feel strong."