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.
Britton struck out the side in a scoreless inning of work to earn his seventh save of the season Monday against the Rays. In what amounted to a bullpen game for the Yanks, the likes of David Robertson, Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Bentances were each used ahead of Britton, putting him in position to close it out with a three-run lead in the ninth. It was his third save since joining the club roughly two months ago. There is not much clarity as to who will be used in save chances for the Yankees over the final six days of the season.
Britton was charged with one unearned run during the ninth inning against the Red Sox on Tuesday but escaped with the save. He struck out one and walked one. Thankfully the Yankees entered the ninth inning with a two-run cushion, so the error by Gleyber Torres didn't result in a blown save. The save was Britton's second since joining the Yankees at the July trade deadline, and the 30-year-old is likely to continue pitching primarily in a setup role with closer Aroldis Chapman (knee) set to return later this week.
Britton allowed one run on two hits in the 10th inning as he notched the save Friday against the Orioles. Britton was deployed with a three-run lead, and after surrendering a solo home run to Chris Davis, Britton managed to slam the door. He was called upon to pick up the save after Chad Green and Dellin Betances were used earlier in the game. Britton, Green and Betances will continue to be in the mix for save opportunities until Aroldis Chapman (knee) returns from the disabled list.