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Nick Markakis had dinner in Monkton on Monday with Braves manager

Nick Markakis had dinner in Monkton on Monday with Braves manager
Nick Markakis looks on during batting practice prior to Game Three of the American League Division Series. (Leon Halip / Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves have more than just casual interest in bringing free agent Nick Markakis back to Georgia. They have made a face-to-face push.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and other team representatives were in Maryland on Monday and had dinner with Markakis at a Monkton restaurant Monday night, according to a source.

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It appeared to be more of a get-to-know-you session than negotiations, the source said. John Hart, the Braves' new president, apparently was not there.

"We're still working on that," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "It's in process for the Orioles. That doesn't surprise me that [other] teams are interested."

The Braves have been considered one of the most likely landing spots for Markakis if he does not re-sign with the Orioles.

Markakis grew up in Woodstock, Ga., north of Atlanta, and attended Young Harris Junior College before being selected in the first round of the 2003 MLB draft by the Orioles.

The Braves recently traded right fielder Jason Heyward to the St. Louis Cardinals so they potentially have an opening in right field. The Braves will open a new stadium in 2017 just miles from where Markakis grew up.

Markakis, 31, seemed to be headed toward re-signing with the Orioles in October, but negotiations on a four-year deal worth $10 to $12 million annually have hit a snag.

He lives in Monkton year-round.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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