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Markakis out another week with small herniatied disc

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Markakis out another week with small herniatied disc

SARASOTA, Fla. – Nick Markakis has been diagnosed with a small herniated disc in his neck, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. Markakis, who was scratched from a game on Mar. 3 with neck spasms, had an MRI on Monday, and will miss another week.

Showalter said his injury would be expected to keep him out two weeks. Since he’s already missed a week, he should be ready to play around Mar. 20.

“Everything else is structurally fine and some of the things you worry about weren’t present. We have positive hopes that it will resolve itself,” Showalter said.

“We’d like for it to be nothing, just a spasm. When you start talking about that, you’d like to get that type of prognosis.”

The 29-year-old right fielder flew to Baltimore for an examination at Johns Hopkins Hospital with spine specialist Dr. Lee Riley on Tuesday. He is expected back in camp on Wednesday.
 
Markakis had abdominal surgery in Jan. 2012, a procedure to remove his broken hamate bone in his right hand last June and one on his left thumb after CC Sabathia hit him with a pitch in September.

Markakis last played on Mar. 1, and is hitting .250 (4-for-12).

NOTES:
-Nolan Reimold’s right shoulder is improving, and he should be ready to play in the field in a few days.

-Lew Ford has left camp to deal with a family matter in Texas.

-Showalter expects to take a look at Luis Martinez, a minor league catcher, who has missed time with a strained oblique muscle.

-The Orioles named former major league infielder Nelson Norman as the head of their director of baseball operations for the Dominican Republic.

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Adam Jones doesn't buy Carlos Correa's defense of Jose Altuve

Adam Jones doesn't buy Carlos Correa's defense of Jose Altuve

In an attempt to defend Jose Altuve from suspicion into why the Astros star didn't want his jersey removed after his walk-off home run in this year's ALCS, Carlos Correa may have created another storm surrounding Houston's sign-stealing scandal. 

The Astros have been under siege at the beginning of spring training. Questions about them cheating in 2017 and even beyond that season have been coming in fast, and opposing players haven't held anything back either. 

In an interview with The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, Correa went to bat for his team, ripping Cody Bellinger for accusing Houston of cheating from 2017 to 2019 and claiming the Astros fully deserve the World Series title they won despite flat out cheating. 

Then there are the buzzers. While the league has stated it found no evidence of the Astros using buzzers to signal pitches to batters at any point, many players aren't convinced because of Altuve's refusal to let his teammates take his jersey off following his home run against the Yankees. 

Correa claimed one of the reasons, along with Altuve's wife not wanting her husband's jersey ripped off, was an unfinished tattoo that didn't look to great. 

"So when he’s running from third base to home plate, I’m the guy up front," Correa told Rosenthal. "The first one waiting for him. He’s like, 'Don’t take my shirt off.' The second reason — he doesn’t want me to talk about this, but I’m going to say it, is because he’s got an unfinished tattoo on his collarbone that honestly looked terrible. It was a bad tattoo, and he didn’t want nobody to see it. He didn’t want to show it at all."

You can count former Orioles outfielder Adam Jones as one of many who don't buy that story. 

As bad as the Astros most likely want to move on from all of this, it's hard to see the snarky comments and the vitriol going away anytime soon.

And if Correa's story ends up to be false and it's deemed the Astros did in fact use buzzers? Oh boy. 

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Orioles Season Preview: Potential for newcomers across the board for infield

Orioles Season Preview: Potential for newcomers across the board for infield

The Orioles may have lost their most productive infielder last season in Jonathan Villar, but the majority of last year’s infield will return. 

Chris Davis, Hanser Alberto, Jose Iglesias and Rio Ruiz are set to patrol the infield with Iglesias as the only newcomer. Iglesias, on his third team in three years and fourth team overall, slashed .288/.318/.407 last season with an OPS of .724. He also hit 11 home runs last season.

Villar was traded to Miami for minor league pitcher Easton Lucas in early December which left a hole at shortstop, which Iglesias is expected to fill. 

Richard Urena Jr. figures to be a utility infielder, capable of playing shortstop, second base or third base. He spent the last three seasons in Toronto and slashed a combined .253/.300/.336 and had a .972 fielding percentage with seven errors in 624 ⅔ innings.

Where the infield gets interesting, however, is at first base. 

Davis returns with three years left on his 161 million dollar contract and a bevy of questions about how productive he can be after his fourth season in a row where he batting average didn’t eclipse .221. Last season, he slashed .179/.276/.326 and had an OPS of .601. While that was an improvement from 2018, his future remains uncertain in Baltimore. 

Davis, who will be 34 when the season begins in late March, has not posted a positive WAR (wins above replacement) season since 2016. His highest mark in the last season was 0.0, and in the last two seasons he posted a negative number.

He’ll start the season at first base, but Ryan Mountcastle figures to be right behind him. 

The 36th overall pick in 2015, Mountcastle is on the top 100 prospects list according to mlb.com. And last season in Triple-A Norfolk, he earned International League Most Valuable Player after a season where he slashed .312/.344/.527 and had 25 home runs and an .871 OPS. 

Mountcastle, who has risen through each step of the Orioles farm system since 2015, appears ready to break into the lineup at some point in 2020. At that point, the Orioles will have to find some room for Mountcastle to see if he’s able to become a regular big league contributor. 

Should the Orioles need it, Trey Mancini is an option to play at first base should Davis or Mountcastle not be available.

As for bench roles, Richie Martin and Renato Nunez could fill bench roles and solidify the middle infield. Ruiz, who started 89 games at third base, is also an option to fill a role as designated hitter. 

And when it comes to prospects on the rise, there’s not much immediately available for the Orioles to pick from. 

Gunnar Henderson, a shortstop who was selected in the second round of last year’s MLB Draft, is still just 18 years old, is a few years away from reaching the major leagues. 

There are options available for utility sake, but as for the rebuild, there’s still a ways to go before some of the younger talent reaches the major league.

40-man roster: 

Hanser Alberto

Chris Davis

Jose Iglesias

Richie Martin

Ryan Mountcastle

Renato Nunez

Rio Ruiz

Richard Urena Jr. 

Ramon Urias

Non-roster invitees:

Rylan Bannon

Malquin Canelo

Dilson Herrera

Mason McCoy

José Rondón

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