SARASOTA, Fla. - Zach Britton said he wasn't surprised when he was called into manager Buck Showalter's office and told that he had been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
"Right when they called me in, I figured, 'Hey you were either making the team or not making the team.' I was leaning toward not making the team, so I expected it," he said.
What will he take away from camp?
"Just the experience and getting to know the guys," Britton said. "Whenever I get up there, it will be nice to go in there knowing the guys, so I kind of feel comfortable anyway. I think that's a big step to getting ready to compete in the big leagues.
"I'm going to go down to Triple-A and try to continue what I was doing here. Like I said yesterday, it doesn't do me any good to go down to Triple-A and pout, because it's not going to help me get up here any quicker. So I understand that I need to go down there and work on some stuff, too. I'm not perfect, I've got some stuff I need to work on, so that will give me some time to sharpen those things, but at the same time pitch well."
Asked if he was given an idea when he might get called up to the majors, Britton replied, "They said, 'We'll see you up here real soon. Don't make too many long-term plans in Norfolk.'"
Britton said his teammates were surprised by his demotion.
"When I went up to shake some guys hands, they were kind of thrown off guard that I was going down," he said. "That's real flattering. Obviously, they feel like I deserve to be on the team. But we all understand the business side. I think everyone knows it kind of came down to that, which is fine. It's flattering that the organization feels that highly of me that they want me around for so long. If that's the decision that they made, then I'm actually kind of flattered by it and I'll go down to Triple-A and continue to do well and be back up here hopefully within this month."
Britton has some things to work on while pitching for the Tides.
"I changed my changeup grip, so I want to be comfortable throwing that again," he said. "And the mechanics that I have, just kind of fine-tuning those. Really just being more consistent. Throwing strikes, and when I get ahead, putting guys away and not throwing 90 pitches in five innings, or whatever it is."