SARASOTA, Fla. - The Phillies scored one run each off relievers Jim Johnson, Willie Eyre and Zach Phillips over the last three innings to defeat the Orioles, 4-1, before a sellout crowd of 7,811 at Ed Smith Stadium.
Adam Jones had two of the Orioles’ four hits.
Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden, still shut down by discomfort in his lower back, was hit on the back of the left hand by a Ty Wigginton line drive while standing at the dugout railing. X-rays were negative.
Teagarden might want to catch a break.
Nick Markakis went 0-for-3 in his first game in right field this spring. He was a little tentative chasing Hunter Pence’s single into right-center field in the first inning, but he made a few strong throws.
Markakis, two months removed from abdominal surgery, will take off Wednesday and perhaps serve as the designated hitter on Thursday before returning to right field on Friday against the Red Sox.
“I felt better than I thought,” he said. “I felt good. I just would have liked to get a few more balls hit to me, but the one down the line I went after. It felt good. Nothing.”
As for his pursuit of Pence’s ball, Markakis said, “I felt a little slow, but I just wanted to cut the ball off and keep it in front of me. Maybe in a game when I’m feeling a little better I’ll put a little more effort into it and get closer to that ball and maybe make a play on it, but it was my first day out there. I didn’t want to try do anything overboard. I basically wanted to get out there and see how I felt.
“We just build on that. A good first day out there, everything felt comfortable. Next time out there, you just build on it and I’m going to start doing some stuff with Kirb (Wayne Kirby), first step, trying to get a little quickness back. But it’s just one of those things where you don’t want to go out there and do too much and get set back. Everything went well today and I’m looking forward to the next day getting out there and maybe doing a little more.”
Markakis was on the front end of a 9-4-5 putout.
“It felt good,” he said. “Maybe during the season I’ll be a little more quicker. But overall, I just wanted to make the routine play, field it, put my self in a good position, make a good throw and let them do the rest.”
Asked about his batting stroke, Markakis said, “Today, I felt really well. It’s still just a little off, but I’ve got 10-12 at-bats. It’s getting there. I was very pleased with the way things went. Obviously, the results weren’t there, but that’s the last thing on my mind. I just want to be healthy and get out there and get my work in and try not to think about it too much.”
Markakis didn’t have to dive for a ball, but it’ll happen at some point. The bigger issue has been the crossover step, which used to bring discomfort.
“Diving I don’t think is going to bother me,” Markakis said. “It’s just that first quick step to my left or my right where it’s just a natural reaction. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen and we’ll see how it goes.
“It’s just that quick crossover step that gets me a little bit, or it has. It feels good lately. I talked to the doctors and they all said there’s nothing to hurt in there. I don’t know if there’s inflammation. There’s still some scar tissue in there that needs to get out of there. It’s just a work in progress. It’s just day by day.”
Brian Matusz was asked about the challenge of being able to focus when his friend, Zach Britton, is shut down because of inflammation in his left shoulder, and with the starter competition thinning.
“Zach, I see him on a day-to-day basis and he’s working hard. He’s doing everything he can to get himself healthy and strong. We’re all real close, all of us pitchers, especially starters. We’re pushing each other and doing everything we can to help each other out. Zach will be fine.
“These guys are my teammates and my friends. We’re there for each other every day, pushing each other to get better and stronger, and that’s what it’s all about.”