Markakis' recent injury spate continues with neck ailment

The SportsXchange

Then-Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley sat a young Nick Markakis on the final day of the 2007 season because he said the days of 162-game players were in the past.

Even in a town where Cal Ripken played every game for 17 consecutive years, that statement has proven true.

And even Markakis, who has been a durable, consistent player for most of his career, has fallen victim to injuries -- especially the past two seasons.

Markakis ended the 2011 season with an abdominal injury that required a minor surgery. He missed a month in the middle of 2012 with a broken hamate bone in his right wrist, and he sat out the final month of the season -- plus the playoffs -- with a broken thumb.

With the wrist and thumb injuries behind him, Markakis is now battling a neck issue. He's missed time in spring training with a small disk herniation. He's expected to return by late March.

He's said he's optimistic about playing on Opening Day.

Markakis, 29, likely would bat in one of the top three spots in the order, and he'd provide the Orioles with Gold Glove-caliber defense in right field. In 104 games last year, he hit .298 with a .363 on-base percentage, a .471 slugging percentage, 13 homers and 54 RBI.

He's not the best player on the roster, but he's certainly one of the most consistent. And until the past year, that consistency included his health.
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