ANAHEIM, Calif. — As expected, Zack Britton will again be going under the knife.
The lefty reliever, whose 2021 has mostly been a nightmare — starting in January when a bout with COVID-19 caused him to lose 18 pounds — said Tuesday he will undergo surgery next Wednesday to have a bone chip removed from his elbow.
"Kind of similar to what I had in March," said Britton, who had a bone chip removed March 15, which caused him to start the season on the injured list and not be activated until June 12.
The Los Angeles-based orthopedic specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, whom Britton saw earlier in the week as the fifth and final doctor to evaluate the elbow, will perform the surgery.
Britton was placed on the IL Aug. 23 with a left elbow sprain and acknowledged the next day in Atlanta his season was all but certainly over.
The biggest concern now is if there’s damage to Britton’s ulnar collateral ligament and, if there is, will a more significant surgery, such as Tommy John, be required.
"[He’ll] take a look at my UCL [while removing the bone chip] to see if anything needs to be done there," said Britton, who is under contract with the Yankees next season. "Hoping it doesn’t need anything."
Britton has struggled physically all season — and on the field as well.
The 33-year-old, who has posted a 5.89 ERA in 22 outings, spent more time on the IL from June 26-July 15 with a left hamstring strain. Then came the most recent elbow injury, which led to his third IL stint and officially ended his 2021.
"It's disappointing to end this way," said Britton, who anticipates being full-go for spring training, provided there is no UCL damage. "But [I’ve] been playing a long time and been fortunate not to have a lot of injuries, and I just view it as kind of another chapter of my career where I get an opportunity to use these months that I have to make myself better as I get back to the team. I think, as you get older, you always look for new ways to improve, and I'll have some time to do that, and hopefully be better for it when I come back."