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How Serious Is Zack Britton's Injury Setback?

Britton left Friday night's game with left arm fatigue, a concerning update for a player trying to work back from last year's elbow surgery.

NEW YORK — While Friday's injury scare doesn't bode well for Zack Britton's pursuit of a postseason roster spot, the left-hander appeared to dodge any sort of serious complications.

Britton came off the mound and immediately motioned to the Yankees' dugout after throwing a pitch to the backstop in the sixth inning of New York's 2-1 loss to the Orioles.

The initial update from the Yankees was that Britton departed from the game—cutting his third appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery short—with left arm fatigue. Yankees manager Aaron Boone added after the game that Britton's surgically-repaired elbow is fine.

"I think it's just the case where we didn't want to push through something and try and reach for something that wasn't there," Boone explained. "So I think he's alright. I just think it's just being out there now in stressful situations and then reaching for it a little bit. So, we'll see what we have tomorrow."

Britton worked his tail off to put himself in a position to help this club win a championship in 2022, returning just over 12 months after he underwent Tommy John surgery. 

As much as Britton's road to recovery is a story of fortitude and perseverance, that doesn't guarantee him a roster spot when the postseason begins. These last few series of the regular season were poised to be Britton's audition for October, a chance to prove to Boone and the coaching staff that he's capable of pitching at this level and finding results in high-leverage situations.

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Depending on how quickly he's able to get back on a mound in a big-league game, it's hard to justify Britton obtaining one of the final few roster spots for New York in the American League Division Series and beyond. The left-hander has walked six of the nine batters he's faced since coming back from elbow surgery. 

"Just seeing his work and what he's put in this year, he's given everything he has," fellow reliever Clay Holmes said of Britton on Friday night. "Hopefully he's okay, but it's just tough to see. It's a hard thing to come back from. Sometimes you can't beat time. I know he's put all the work in and sometimes, I don't know, the stress may be a little different and it's just a tough thing to sometimes get over that hump when you're not quite ready to. 

"I think he's still got a lot of good left in him. But definitely as teammates we all respect just how hard he's worked and the effort he's put in to come back so far."


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