By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
3:48 PM EST, December 11, 2012
Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis resumed normal offseason workouts a few weeks ago after recovering from surgery to repair a broken left thumb that cost him the last month of the regular season and the team’s first postseason in 15 years.
"As good as I'm going to get right now.” Markakis said Tuesday. “I've already started all my stuff and I’m ready to roll. And actually, [I’m] anxious to get down there [to spring training]. I don't have any setbacks.”
Markakis, who attended Tuesday’s Oriole REACH holiday party at Dave & Busters in the Arundel Mills Mall, said he’s antsy to help build on the Orioles’ success last season – which he knows comes with higher expectations.
“That’s what comes with success,” Markakis said. “With what we did last year, people are going to be looking for us to be in the same position we were in last year and go further. And that’s our expectation. That’s our goal. We want to get there. The guys have been there. Hopefully I’ll be able to get there with them and you know, have fun doing it.”
Markakis said he senses a renewed excitement this offseason – one that he hasn’t seen since he became an Oriole in 2006.
“You can definitely tell from the fans’ standpoint,” he said. “It’s good to see. This will by my eighth season coming up, and the six years prior to this past season, it’s been tough. We’ve had our ups and downs but we just couldn’t pull things together. This past season, when things go right and everybody’s on the same page, good things happen. It’s just good to bring it back to the city. It’s good to see it in the fans. And not only the fans, but the whole country knows what the Baltimore Orioles are about now. And we just got to continue with that mindset that attitude and play hard and we’ll see at the end of the year where we are.”
After missing just five games the previous three seasons, Markakis missed 58 games this past season. He's underwent three surgeries in the past 12 months, including two during the season. He missed six weeks after surgery to remove a fractured part of the hamate bone in his right wrist, then hit a scorching .335/.390/.489 upon his return when Orioles manager Buck Showalter placed him in the leadoff spot.
On Sept. 8, Markakis was hit in the left hand by a CC Sabathia pitch, fracturing his left thumb and ending his season. He could have returned had the Orioles made the World Series, but they were bumped by the Yankees in the AL Division Series in five games.
“I didn’t want it to end,” Markakis said. “That’s reality. Every good thing comes to an end. It was just really bad timing and you know, I was anxious to get back.”
Asked whether he’d like to remain in the leadoff spot next year, Markakis said he trusts that Showalter will find the best fit for him. Markakis hit exclusively in the No. 3 spot before his first DL stint.
“It is what it is,” Markakis said. “Wherever he wants to put me in the lineup, that’s where I’m going to be. I’m not going to complain or moan about being somewhere in the lineup. Buck’s going to put me where he thinks I’m going to help this team the best and that’s what I’m going to look forward to and that’s the mindset I’m going to have.”
Markakis said that while he feels healthy and has resumed his normal offseason routine, he hasn’t done any baseball activities yet. He said he usually doesn’t do that anyway until spring training.
“I’m enjoying my offseason right now,” Markakis said. “[Spring training] will be here before we know it.”
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