Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis was scratched from the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the Phillies after he woke up with neck spasms.
“We’re just going to be careful with him,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He never had it before. He got better as the day went on. He’s got some muscle relaxers and all that stuff, and we’ll see where we are in a couple of days.”
With Monday’s off day and Tuesday’s road game in Dunedin against the Blue Jays — veteran starters don’t often make road trips this early in camp — Markakis will get an additional two days off. But Showalter said the injury was not a spring training precaution, and that Markakis would have missed the game had it occurred during the regular season.
Markakis, who played in at least 160 games in four of the past five seasons heading into 2012, missed 58 games last season with a litany of injuries.
He had three surgeries over the calendar year, including a season-ending surgery for a broken left thumb in early-September after he was hit by a CC Sabathia fastball against the Yankees. He also had offseason abdomen surgery and a procedure to remove the hamate bone from his right wrist.
Showalter often says that Markakis isn’t a player who needs many at-bats to get ready for the season, and his first two spring starts this season came as a designated hitter. But Showalter said the club wants to be careful.
“We’ll see,” Showalter said. “I don’t want to take it lightly. The doctors checked him out and I don’t think there’s any structural issues [with his] back or disc or any of that stuff, but once he’s completely recovered, we’ll see.”