By Lenn Robbins
With the exception of, “Tommy John,” two of the worst words a pitcher can hear when it comes to his elbow is, “bone chips.”
Those were the words that Yankees reliever Zack Britton heard Tuesday, followed by another ugly word – surgery. Britton will undergo surgery, “in the upcoming days,” to remove a bone chip from his left elbow, the Yankees announced.
There was no mention of recovery time but according to the Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute website, “Athletes and other patients in good physical condition may return to athletic activities within six weeks, under the care of their physician.”
For a team that has been haunted by injuries the last two seasons, the news cast a giant shadow over Yankees fans on the first day that felt like spring and baseball in New York. Britton experienced soreness and underwent an MRI that revealed the loose body.
He will return to New York on Wednesday and undergo surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital where Dr. Christopher Ahmad will perform the procedure. Ahmad treated Derek Jeter when he suffered his season-ending fractured left ankle in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS.
Britton, 33, is one of the most important Yankees. He was 1-2 last season with a 1.89 ERA and eight saves. For a team that has a lot of question marks regarding its starting pitcher, Britton was going to be counted on heavily this season.