Well-traveled Britton recalled to Yanks
Reliever going to be used more frequently, says Girardi
BALTIMORE -- To this point in the big league season, Chris Britton hasn't had the opportunity to do much but amass frequent traveler miles. Now serving his fourth stint with the Yankees this year, the right-hander hopes that is about to change.
The 25-year-old Britton was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre yet again on Wednesday, taking the place of the injured Ian Kennedy on the Yankees' pitching staff.
Despite his frequent presence in the clubhouse, Britton has appeared in just two games for the Yankees this season, though he was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 10 games at Triple-A. Now that Joba Chamberlain has started his transition to the rotation, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he is open to offering Britton a few more innings.
"You try to pick situations, just like any other pitcher, where a guy in your mind you believe is going to be successful," Girardi said. "We're going to need him. He'll get his opportunities when we call upon him and he's done well for us."
Perhaps the most laughable experience of Britton's season came on May 9, when he was optioned to Triple-A for the second time. Britton packed his bags and left Comerica Park, but was in the air only for a few minutes when right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo was injured pitching against the Tigers.
When Britton landed in Nashville, Tenn., where he'd hoped to spend a night at home before joining Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Indianapolis, he had a message on his cell phone telling him to return to Detroit and rejoin the Yankees for the next afternoon's game.
Even more amazingly, it was the second time Britton was sent down this season only to be recalled less than 24 hours later.
"I think the hardest part is really not knowing where you're going to be the next day, so you've got to perform your best all of the time," Britton said. "Until I put in my time and pay my dues, I guess I'll have to be on that schedule."
Regarding Britton's lack of use at the big league level, Girardi explained that the Yankees used him as more of a long reliever, and on many occasions, they didn't need one. Girardi also said the bullpen can fluidly change day-to-day as the Yankees continue to look for a setup that can assure them consistency.
There's little doubt which method of travel better agrees with Britton.
"It's night and day," Britton said. "In Triple-A, we have long bus rides and if you have a flight, you have to get up at the crack of dawn. Up here, it's pretty relaxed. You can get on a bus and jump on a plane. You're there in three hours, whereas in Triple-A, you might be on the bus for eight or nine hours."
Britton said that, through all of his ups and downs -- literally -- this season, one major thought has echoed in his head. His parents have been a source of encouragement, urging Britton to keep moving, wherever that may take him tomorrow.
"In some way, shape or form, everybody has a setback where they have to just deal with it and keep on going," Britton said. "Where I'm at right now, there's not too many people in the world who get an opportunity to do it. I've just got to take the hits. It's hard to get here but it's even harder to stay here."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.