Britton allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning to record his second save of the season Thursday against the Orioles. Britton got a rare save chance after Aroldis Chapman appeared in two of the first three games in the series and threw a combined 44 pitches. He had little trouble closing the game, quickly erasing a one-out single with a game-ending double play. While he isn't likely to pick up many save opportunities without an injury to Chapman, Britton has managed a 2.42 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 22 strikeouts across 22.1 innings for the season.
Britton worked a perfect ninth inning Tuesday to record his first save of the season in a 7-5 win over the Angels. Aroldis Chapman had pitched the last two days, blowing the save Monday, so manager Aaron Boone turned to Britton in this one and the former O's closer got the job done. The veteran lefty's 2.61 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 10:4 K:BB through 10.1 innings so far are solid, and while he won't supplant Chapman on a regular basis, Britton's got a win and three holds in 11 appearances to go along with Tuesday's save.
Britton has yet to yield a run in his five Grapefruit League appearances this spring, striking out three and walking one over 5.2 innings. It's a small sample size as to be expected with a reliever, but Britton certainly has looked the part of the dominant lefty the Yankees hope he will be coming out of the bullpen this season. He posted a 2.88 ERA over 25 innings after arriving to the club via trade from Baltimore last season, so the 31-year-old is a good bet to provide solid ratios, although he might find save opportunities hard to come by with the presence of Aroldis Chapman along with a handful of other talented relievers in the team's bullpen.
Britton announced on Twitter that he will now go by "Zack," which is his legal first name. The longtime Oriole -- now Yankee -- went for years by "Zach." It's "Zack" on his birth certificate, but apparently he was never bothered enough by the misspelling to correct people. Britton's mixed-league appeal is minimal heading into 2019, as he will almost certainly enter the year in a setup role in front of Aroldis Chapman. AL-only players should note this change just to avoid any confusion on draft day.
Britton signed a three-year, $39 million deal to return to the Yankees on Saturday, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. The lefty threw 25 innings with a 2.88 ERA after a midseason move to New York last season. He'll fill a setup role in front of Aroldis Chapman this season and will have less competition for fill-in saves should Chapman get injured with David Robertson now in Philadelphia. Britton still has the elite groundball rates he had prior to a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an Achilles injury, generating a 73.0 percent groundball rate last season, but his strikeout rate slipped to 20.1 percent while his walk rate climbed to 12.4 percent. He'll need those numbers to trend back in a positive direction if he's to continue to be a shutdown reliever.