Markakis and Tillman updates

SARASOTA, Fla. - Nick Markakis confirmed that he will undergo an MRI on his neck Monday morning, saying that it's being done as a precaution and his condition isn't believed to be serious. Chris Tillman confirmed that he was scratched from today's start because of soreness on his left side that doesn't involve his oblique.

Let's start with Markakis.

"I think it's probably more of a precaution thing to see what's going on in there and identify exactly what it is that's bothering me," said Markakis, who hasn't played since March 1 because of tightness and spasms in his neck.

Markakis originally stated that he would play if it were the regular season, but his condition worsened.

"That day I was feeling good," he said. "I woke up the next morning pretty locked up or tight or whatever you want to call it. But I'm better today than I was yesterday, so it's going in the right direction. Doc said they don't think it's anything too serious and that's what we're hoping for, but we just want to identify what it is."

You can tell that Markakis isn't real concerned.

"No, just from going off what the doc says and how I feel. I think it's just some muscle tightness, but we'll definitely find out tomorrow," he said.

"I can't pinpoint exactly what it was because I didn't feel anything. I thought about what it could be. Maybe dehydration and working out and straining a muscle, or even sleeping on it or something along those lines, but I don't know. We'll see tomorrow, though."

Tillman expects to pitch within the next couple of days. Miguel Gonzalez will make the start today against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Sarasota.

"It's just a precautionary thing in my side," Tillman said. "It kind of flared up the other day. I think just to be safe, I just want to take it easy for now. Nothing big, but I'm not going to downplay it either. Nothing I'm really worried about. Just want to be safe.

"It's my left side. I had it early in camp and the more I threw the better it got, and yesterday it just kind of was nagging me a little bit. And I'm thinking more risk and reward right now. What am I really going to gain from me going out there throwing and what am I really going to lose from not throwing? Do I like it? No. But is it the best decision? Probably."

Tillman is confident that he's not dealing with a strained oblique, which would likely sideline him for a while.

"Glad it's not oblique," he said. "That's a good thing."

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