Today is Orioles right-fielder Nick Markakis' spring debut. Markakis, who is recovering from offseason abdominal surgery, will be the team's DH hitting third in the Orioles' lineup this afternoon against the Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium.
Markakis said yesterday he's eager to get some at-bats and said he's going to track pitches, but I'm thinking he will be pretty eager to take some hacks against live pitching. He's been itching to do it for weeks.
-- Orioles manager Buck Showalter has mentioned multiple times that he wants to see utilityman Ryan Flaherty at first base this spring. Flaherty -- who has played shortstop, third base and second -- said he played first base 4-5 times last year at Triple-A Iowa and played there during his freshman year at Vanderbilt. He joked that he better find a first baseman's mitt in the next few days.
-- Outfielder Jai Miller is coming off the best offensive day of any Orioles player this spring. He was 3-for-5 with 3 runs and 3 RBIs. He hit a 3-run homer and two doubles. He's becoming a more intriguing player as the team begins to be pared down (The team will make a second round of cuts today or Thursday).
-- Left-hander Zach Britton (left shoulder inflammation) is continuing to progress. He is slated to throw in a sim game Thursday. He will then throw four innings in his next outing.
-- Right-hander Jake Arrieta starts today. He will likely go three or four innings, depending on pitch count.
Here's today's lineup:
Endy Chavez RF
JJ Hardy SS
Nick Markakis DH
Matt Wieters C
Adam Jones CF
Nick Johnson 1B
Mark Reynolds 3B
Nolan Reimold LF
Robert Andino 2B
Jake Arrieta RHP