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Markakis eager to get spring at-bats, play in right field soon (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Following Tuesday's game, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Nick Markakis is slated to make his first start in rightfield next Tuesday against the Phillies at Ed Smith Stadium.

SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, who has been rehabbing from offseason abdominal surgery, is slated to play in his first Grapefruit League game Wednesday at home against the Pirates.

And while Markakis will be the Orioles’ starting designated hitter, he said he’s not far away from playing in the field.

“I don’t think I’m far away at all,” Markakis said. “I just need to ease my way into it and get a couple of games at DH under my belt and then move on out.”

Markakis has been remarkably durable during his career, playing in at least 160 games in four of the past five years (he played in 157 games in 2008). He also won his first AL Gold Glove last season.

Both Markakis and manager Buck Showalter said Markakis isn’t a player who needs many spring training at-bats because of how he keeps himself in good condition.

“I’m just ready to get some at-bats in and get this thing under way,” Markakis said. “I’m just looking to track some pitches and get my timing there.”

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