Yanks’ Britton needs surgery to remove elbow bone chip

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Zack Britton

FILE – New York Yankees relief pitcher Zack Britton winds up during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in New York, in this Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, file photo. Yankees left-hander Zack Britton is not throwing because of a sore pitching elbow, was to be examined by a doctor on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and could miss the start of the season. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees left-hander Zack Britton needs surgery to remove a bone chip from his pitching elbow and seems certain to miss the start of the season.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced the need for an operation following New York’s 6-5 loss to Detroit on Tuesday.

Britton will return to New York on Wednesday. Head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad will perform the surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

“As far as timetables and stuff like that, we’ll have more in the coming day or two days,” Boone said.

Boone said Britton’s ulnar collateral ligament was not suspected of being hurt, an injury that if diagnosed could lead to Tommy John surgery. Boone said Britton felt soreness Sunday night following a bullpen session and had an MRI of his elbow on Monday.

“I would say it’s always concerning any time any of your players are going through tests because they’re not quite where we want them to be,” Boone said. “But that said, let’s find out where we’re at and what it says and what the days ahead mean now. So Zack overall feels pretty good. He’s in good spirits about it. But let’s get the answers first.”

Britton, 33, disclosed last weekend that he was recovering from COVID-19, which he contracted in January. He has not pitched in any exhibitions.

“I think set him back a little bit in his buildup,” Boone said. “Just trying to kind of get his weight up. He’s actually been throwing pretty well early in spring.”

Britton, a two-time All-Star, was 1-2 with a 1.89 ERA and eight saves in 20 appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He filled in as closer when Aroldis Chapman was recovering from COVID-19.

Britton is entering his fourth full season with the Yankees and is starting the third season of a contract now worth $52 million over four years.

Boone said Clint Frazier was not hurt when he banged into the left-field wall chasing Willi Castro’s homer in the fourth inning.

“Clint came out fine,” Boone said. Actually when I got out there with Alfonso (trainer Alfonso Malguti) he was very cleared-eyed and he said he was fine. He basically said, `I know what it feels like when you obviously hit the wall,’ and he said it was nothing like that. And then he checked out here before he left. Everything was good.”

Frazier sustained a concussion during a spring training game at Bradenton on Feb. 24, 2018, and he took until the following year to completely move past the after-effects.

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Notes: RHP Deivi García ($578,225 in majors, $106,835 in minors), C Kyle Higashioka ($594,000/$289,600), RHP Nick Nelson ($575,150/$227,922) and INF Tyler Wade ($603,300/$291,400) agreed to one-year contracts.

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