SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis took another round of batting practice today at Ed Smith Stadium and is expected to serve as the designated hitter for Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers.
Markakis hasn’t played since March 1 because of a herniated disc in his neck. His progression has taken him from hitting off a tee to soft toss to live batting practice the past two days.
Markakis wouldn’t be the only regular on the trip. Manager Buck Showalter plans on taking Brian Roberts, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Nate McLouth and possibly Matt Wieters. Hardy and Wieters haven’t played on the road this spring.
Showalter said he hasn’t decided whether to include Jones on the travel roster. Jones hasn’t played a road game this spring outside of the World Baseball Classic.
Steve Johnson was supposed to start Wednesday night against the New York Yankees in Sarasota, but he’s being pushed back to Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays because of some discomfort in his lower back. Jair Jurrjens has been moved up to Wednesday.
Showalter is just being cautious with Johnson and giving him an extra day to recover.
Trayvon Robinson feels good today and should be full-go on Tuesday. Robinson left yesterday’s game with tightness in his lower back, but he could play today if it were a regular-season game.
The Orioles could make a few cuts during lunch today.
Orioles fans again will be able to select the player they want to be immortalized in a bobblehead giveaway, scheduled to be distributed during Fan Appreciation Weekend on Sept. 29 to the first 20,000 fans age 15 and over.
Fans may select Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis, Jason Hammel, Jim Johnson or Nate McLouth.
Voting begins today and fans have three methods to choose. The first is through unlimited mobile voting by texting 1 for Chen, 2 for Davis, 3 for Hammel, 4 for Johnson or 5 for McLouth to 31826. Texting is available on all mobile carriers and is subject to standard text message rates.
New in 2013, each time fans text their vote using their mobile phone they will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a Bobblehead VIP experience that includes four lower box tickets to attend the September 29 game and an autographed bobblehead of the 2013 Fans’ Choice Bobblehead player, plus an on-field experience prior to the game!
The second way fans can vote is on the Orioles website at www.orioles.com/bobblehead. The third and final voting method can be found on the Orioles Facebook page at www.facebook.com/orioles. The vote will conclude on Wednesday, May 15.
Last season, fans selected shortstop J.J. Hardy.