Up to last year, Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis had been the image of good health. Through his first six big-league seasons, Markakis had missed just four games to an injury or illness, and had never spent a single day on the disabled list.
As the Orioles took a surprise turn for the better in 2012, however, Markakis' good health record took a turn for the worse. The lefty-swinging outfielder hit the disabled list on two occasions last season for minor surgeries -- once to repair a broken wrist and once to repair a broken thumb -- and missed 58 games as a result.
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Any hope that the O's may have had about Markakis returning to his reliable ways this season will have to be put on hold. The right fielder has been sidelined since March 3 because of stiffness in his neck, and will undergo an MRI today to try to find the source of his discomfort, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN.
Manager Buck Showalter told Kubatko that the tests are just to be "on the safe side," but also said the Orioles are not trying to downplay the potential seriousness of the injury:
"Richie (Bancells) talked to Dr. (John) Wilckens about it," Showalter said. "I'm not going to downplay it. We'll see. When you get something that has kind of cropped up twice, information is a good thing.
"Until you get all the information ... so we'll see."
Markakis, 29, hit an impressive .298/.363/.471 with 13 home runs in 471 plate appearances last season despite his injury troubles. He is owed $15 million this season, and is signed with the O's through at least 2014.