Nick Markakis: “I feel like I’m close”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter pointed out today how hard players like Derrek Lee and Nick Markakis are working behind the scenes to get out of batting slumps. He knows fans are wondering when his No. 2 and No. 3 hitters will get it going.

Markakis is batting .203 over 18 games with two homers, two doubles, six RBIs and a .327 slugging percentage.

So how is Markakis feeling about his swing right now?

“I’ve got mixed emotions about it,” he said. “I’m definitely not where I want to be, but it’s still early and things happen in baseball for a reason. Just got to keep plugging away.

“It’s frustrating. You fail 70 percent of the time at this game and you are doing good. It’s all about how you deal with it. We have a lot of guys here that have done some great things. We just need to get back to where we are comfortable and keep working.

“I feel like I’m close and I’m getting there. It would be different if I were up there with strikeouts every time. You know I feel like I’m swinging the bat somewhat decent. It’s a matter of time, for myself and all of us get on the same page.”

Showalter said today that Markakis was swinging the bat about as well as any player in spring and then he began the year hitting line drives as he went 6-for-14 over the first four games. But since then, he is just 8-for-55 for an average of .145 in that time.

“It’s too early to be beating yourself up,” Markakis said. “We don’t even have 150 at-bats yet. You know, you can have a good series and be right back where you want to be. I’m just trying to take as many swings (during pregame work) as I can right now. I’m not too overly worried about it. Things will come around for myself and the team. We’ll get things rolling here pretty soon.”

Markakis is far from the only Oriole struggling with the bat and that list has included those hitting behind him in Lee and Vlad Guerrero. Does it impact his hitting when that pair behind him struggles?

“It impacts the whole team and the whole lineup. We are definitely not swinging the bats like we are capable of doing. Once things turn around, things will be a lot different,” Markakis said.

While the bats have mostly slumped, the team’s starting pitching and defense have been decent.

“Look at our overall batting as a team and you wonder how the hell we have the record that we do now.” Markakis added. “Our pitching is doing the best they can right now with no run support. We need for them to continue to do that and we’ll back them up eventually and get things going. It will be a different ballgame then.”

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