Britton: Ailing shoulder feels 'like brand new'

Britton: Ailing shoulder feels 'like brand new'

Britton: Ailing shoulder feels 'like brand new'
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Left-hander Zach Britton threw between 30 and 40 pitches with no pain on Thursday, and the 24-year-old reported after his session at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex that his arm feels "like brand new."

The next step for Britton will be to throw on Saturday, and that will be a big test given how much of his problem -- lingering inflammation in his left shoulder -- has stemmed from throwing in succession.

Though Saturday's session affords a day's rest, Britton seemed optimistic that if he comes through that with no problem, he won't be very far behind the rest of the arms in camp.

"It went really well," Britton, who has been working with head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, said of Thursday's throwing session, which was presided over by pitching coach Rick Adair. "They were impressed with the velocity I was able to put up. ... The arm strength is there."

Britton has been dealing with the inflammation -- which prevents him from getting into his natural arm slot -- since hitting the disabled list last August. An MRI performed earlier this winter on the shoulder showed no structural damage, and he's been taking anti-inflammatory medications and working with Bancells at the team's Spring Training facility.

The Orioles have been aware of Britton's situation -- which reappeared when he started throwing -- since mid-December, and Britton spent the offseason doing rehab work with Dr. Keith Meister, who also works with the Texas Rangers, at TMI Sports Medicine before reporting early to camp.

Britton is expected to compete for a rotation spot, and given how early it is, he has the luxury of time in making sure everything with his shoulder is 100 percent.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.