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Orioles

Markakis says he left great memories in Baltimore but has no regrets about joining Braves

Nick Markakis' four-year, $44-million deal with the Braves became official on Friday, and he met the media in Atlanta for the first time.

The sight of Markakis, who spent his entire nine-year career with the Orioles, wearing a Braves cap and home jersey while donning a full beard was undoubtedly a surreal sight.

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Markakis addressed his time in Baltimore, saying that he didn't hold any grudge against the Orioles or have any regrets about his decision to join the Braves.

"They gave me an opportunity early in life," Markakis told reporters about the Orioles. "I can't take that away from anything. That's where I started my career. That's where I started my roots and my foundation in this occupation. They've been great to me. I have great memories there, lots of friends. I feel like that's something that's never going to be taken away from you in this business. Teammates are taken away from you but your friendships and what you build with them over the years won't be forgotten and won't be taken away.

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"Everything I did over there, I did and it's in my past now," Markakis continued. "I don't hold any grudge or [think] that I could have done [anything] differently. In this job, things like that happen. I'm grateful for the opportunity they gave me and it's time to turn the page. Here I am. I'm ready to start a new chapter here do what I can to win ballgames."

The Orioles, who appeared to be close to a four-year deal with Markakis shortly after the season ended, became increasing hesitant to give Markakis, 31, a fourth year because of health concerns regarding a bulging disc in his neck, according to sources.

Both the Braves and Orioles knew about the condition. And a third-party evaluation didn't deter the Braves from a four-year deal.

His deal with the Braves complete, Markakis is leaning toward undergoing offseason neck surgery for the bulging disk, according to an industry source. He is still expected to be ready for Opening Day. The Orioles knew about Markakis potentially undergoing the procedure, but their concern was Markakis' long-term health.

Markakis, who went to high school in nearby Woodstock, Ga., and attended college in Georgia, said the Braves made him feel comfortable about a change of scenery.

"Besides a place I grew up and watched for many years, they made me feel like I was home," Markakis told reporters. "I think that was really important to me and my family. They took good care of us and they're good people over here. That played a big part in my decision."

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard


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