Orioles' Markakis goes 0-for-2 with walk in spring debut

SARASOTA, Fla -- Orioles rightfielder Nick Markakis wasn't able to truly test his recovery from offseason abdominal surgery in his Grapefruit League debut against the Pirates Wednesday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.

But Markakis' return to the lineup was a step forward.

"I was just happy to get out there and get some at bats and start this thing off right and get it going in the right direction," Markakis said.  

Markakis batted third as the Orioles' designated hitter, and a truer test will come next Tuesday when he's slated to make his first start in rightfield.

This was, however, his first time seeing live game pitching this spring.

Markakis was 0-for-2 with a fifth-inning walk on the day. In his first at bat, he struck out against Pirates righthander James McDonald on three pitches. He said he wanted to track the first pitch but after that was ready to swing away.

He then hit 2-0 pitch to first on a high chopper in his second at bat, grounding out to end the inning. He walked on five pitches in his final at bat and was stranded there without having to test his baserunning.

"The biggest thing was I wasn't too worried about baseball activity," he said. "I just wanted to see how my body would react to my natural reactions. It was fine. I didn't get to run, but we still got time for that."

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