Zach Britton could be back with the Orioles next week

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Brian Roberts isn’t the only member of the Orioles’ roster nearing a return after an extended absence.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, left-handed starter Zach Britton could be activated from the disabled list after making just one rehab start — scheduled for Saturday at Double-A Bowie.

Britton has been out since the end of spring training with shoulder soreness that dates back to late last season. He’s been making appearances in extended spring training games for the past few weeks in Sarasota, Florida and has reported no renewed discomfort.

Britton, 24, registered a 4.61 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 154 1/3 innings (28 starts) last year for the Orioles. If he’s ready to take a step forward, the sophomore southpaw could be a real asset to first-place Baltimore.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.