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Report: Zach Britton could convert to rotation in 2018

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Orioles closer Zach Britton could return to the mound as a starter in 2018, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com says. Britton suffered an unexpected setback earlier this week after rupturing his right Achilles tendon and will likely spend between 4-8 months recovering from surgery. How that affects his marketability as a trade chip remains to be seen, but Kubatko notes that the team is highly unlikely to release him before he hits free agency next year and might consider reassigning him to the rotation, pending a full recovery.

Britton, 30, got his start with the Orioles as a starting pitcher back in 2011. Over three seasons, he racked up an 18-17 record in 46 starts and a 4.86 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 in 250 innings. By 2014, the southpaw had made a full conversion to the bullpen, where he assumed the closing role and quickly became one of the club’s most valuable relievers.

Given Britton’s history of injuries, including the latest blow to his Achilles, the Orioles may not want to put additional strain on his right leg by increasing his workload when he returns next summer. Still, Kubatko insists that the possibility of converting the left-hander back to the rotation is one that has been floated by the team in recent months and one that Britton “wasn’t adamant about resisting,” though it’s clearly not the role he’d prefer. For the time being, however, the Orioles are more likely to focus their efforts on retaining Britton and may even be entertaining¬†the idea of an extension for the oft-injured closer.

Royals acquire Brian Goodwin from Nationals

Brian Goodwin
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The Royals have acquired outfielder Brian Goodwin from the Nationals, the teams announced Sunday. The Nationals received minor league right-handed reliever Jacob Condra-Bogan in the deal.

Goodwin, 27, was working through his third campaign with the Nationals in 2018. He saw limited playing time in the outfield (mostly due to the trifecta of talent the club already had in Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, and Juan Soto), and finished the first half of the season with a .200/.321/.354 batting line, three home runs, three stolen bases and a .674 OPS in just 79 plate appearances. The Royals, who appear thin on compelling center field options at the moment, are expected to utilize him on a more frequent basis once he’s added to the active roster.

The 23-year-old Condra-Bogan has yet to break into the majors with any team so far. He got his start in pro ball in 2017 with the independent Washington WildThings of the Frontier League and issued three runs, three walks and 15 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings before signing on with the Royals as a free agent. This season, he pitched to an impressive 2.08 ERA, 0.7 BB/9 and 13.5 SO/9 through 26 innings in Single-A Lexington before getting transferred to High-A Wilmington for a single appearance. The Nationals have not announced where he’ll be assigned for the remainder of 2018.