This off-season is not as eventful as last year’s for Nick Markakis. At this time last year, Markakis was nearing surgery to repair a torn muscle in his abdomen. The 2012 season brought two more injuries to his right hamate bone and a broken thumb.
He’s over the thumb injury, which caused him to miss the Orioles’ postseason.
“As good as I'm going to get right now,” Markakis said on Tuesday at the Orioles’ annual Christmas party for children at Dave & Busters in Arundel Mills Mall near Baltimore.
“I've already started all my stuff and ready to roll. And actually, anxious to get down there. I don't have any setbacks. I got cleared a while ago, but I still wanted to give it a little extra time to heal. Couple weeks now I've been at it and everything's going good," Markakis said.
He’s not hitting and won’t until spring training starts in two months.
Markakis is one of the few Orioles to live in the area fulltime, and he says he notices a different feel from the fans this year.
“Absolutely. You can definitely tell from the fans standpoint; it’s good to see. This will by my eighth season coming up, and the six years prior to this past season, it’s been tough. We’ve had our ups and downs but we just couldn’t pull things together. This past season, when things go right, and everybody’s on the same page good things happen. It’s just good to bring it back to the city, it’s good to see it in the fans,” Markakis said.
“The whole country knows what the Baltimore Orioles are about now. And we just got to continue with that mindset that attitude and play hard and we’ll see at the end of the year where we are.”
When Markakis’ thumb was broken by CC Sabathia, Nate McLouth replaced him and earned a $2 million contract with as much as $500,000 in incentives.
“I think he deserves it. What he did for us in the second half ever since he got here. He did what he was supposed to do. A guy like that, a guy with his talent, is always good to have,” Markakis said.
Most of the team will be back for 2013, and that’s pleasing to Markakis.
“For the most part all the guys know each other. It’s always that awkward feeling going into spring training not knowing everybody and what you’re in for, and what you’re going to get out of people, so it’s good that you have people back that you’re familiar with and like working with. It’s a lot easier on the guys,” Markakis said.
“I’m sure there’s a ton of people that we’ve never even seen before, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Everywhere Markakis goes now, people talk about the Orioles, and naturally, people are expecting more.
“That’s what comes with success, with what we did last year, people are going to be looking for us to be in the same position for us to be in last year and go further. And that’s out expectation. That’s our goal. We want to get there. The guys have been there. Hopefully I’ll be able to get there with them and you know, have fun doing it,” Reynolds said.
The team had great success when Markakis was put in the leadoff spot by manager Buck Showalter.
“Wherever he wants to put me in the lineup, that’s where I’m going to be. I’m not going to complain or moan about being somewhere in the lineup. Buck’s going to put me where he thinks I’m going to help this team the best and that’s what I’m going to look forward to and that’s the mindset I’m going to have,” Markakis said.