LAKELAND, Fla. — New York Yankees left-hander Zack Britton needs surgery to remove a bone chip from his pitching elbow and seems certain to miss the start of the season.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone announced the need for an operation following New York’s 6-5 loss to Detroit on Tuesday.

Britton will return to New York on Wednesday. Head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad will perform the surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

“As far as timetables and stuff like that, we’ll have more in the coming day or two days,” Boone said.

Boone said Britton’s ulnar collateral ligament was not suspected of being hurt, an injury that if diagnosed could lead to Tommy John surgery. Boone said Britton felt soreness Sunday night following a bullpen session and had an MRI of his elbow on Monday.

Britton, 33, disclosed last weekend that he was recovering from COVID-19, which he contracted in January. He has not pitched in any exhibitions.


“I think it set him back a little bit in his buildup,” Boone said. “Just trying to kind of get his weight up. He’s actually been throwing pretty well early in spring.”

Britton, a two-time All-Star, was 1-2 with a 1.89 ERA and eight saves in 20 appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He filled in as closer when Aroldis Chapman was recovering from COVID-19.

Britton is entering his fourth full season with the Yankees and is starting the third season of a contract now worth $52 million over four years.

RANGERS: The Texas Rangers will be without one of their top relievers to start the season after hard-throwing Jonathan Hernandez was shut down from pitching for at least four weeks because of a ligament sprain in his right elbow.

Rangers GM Chris Young said an MRI revealed a low-grade ulnar collateral ligament sprain after the right-hander felt something when throwing his last batting practice session.

Hernandez had a breakout season last year, when he was 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 27 appearances in the pandemic-shortened 60-game season. He had 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 31 innings, relying heavily on a sinker that averaged nearly 98 mph.


INDIANS: Third baseman Jose Ramirez and slugger Franmil Reyes rejoined their teammates at training camp after being banned for breaking COVID-19 protocols.

The players tested negative for the coronavirus and were back at the team’s facility in Goodyear, Arizona. .

Ramirez and Reyes had been isolated at their temporary spring training homes since Saturday after they went out to dinner indoors, a behavior that violated virus guidelines set last season by Major League Baseball and the players’ union.

Indians Manager Terry Francona said Ramirez and Reyes addressed the team after returning and spoke “in a very thoughtful and sincere way.”

Francona said any team discipline against the players would stay internal.

“The idea is never to embarrass anybody, and I explained that to Jose and Franmil,” he said. “I’m really comfortable where we are right now. And like anything that doesn’t go perfect, where you go from there is what’s really meaningful. I think we’re gonna be OK.”

ROCKIES: The Colorado Rockies have gotten permission to have 21,363 fans at home games this season beginning with opening day on April 1.

That figure represents 42.6% capacity of the 50,144-seat Coors Field in downtown Denver. Previously, the Rockies had gotten the green light for crowds of 12,500.

There were no fans at regular-season games last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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