Nick Markakis has played plenty of games in right field with Brian Roberts patrolling second base. Markakis talked to Roberts recently and hopes Roberts can return to regular duty next season after playing in just 98 combined games the last two years.
“I talked to him not too long ago,” Markakis said. “I know 100 percent he plans on coming back. He wants to be a part of this as much as anybody else. It’s unfortunate with the injury he has right now. It’s a long healing process and I hope we get him back.
“He is one guy that can change our whole lineup one through nine. To have his presence and talent and what he brings to the table, we miss having him at the top of the order.
“He is one of the best, if not the best, leadoff hitters in baseball, all around. We hope everything heals properly and he’ll be ready to roll in spring training. I’ve played seven full seasons with him and I know what he is capable of doing.”
Markakis talked also about winning his first American League Rawlings Gold Glove Award. This year he became the first Orioles’ outfielder to play 150 games or more without an error.
If you watch Markakis play, it is clear that mental prep is a part of his success on defense in terms of positioning, watching tape and always thinking ahead.
“As far as knowing the parks, it’s just repetition and being out there. Knowing the elements, how the ball will kick off the wall and try to take the best route to it. Within the past couple of years, you could probably say I was a little quicker and more agile when I first came up, but I’m a lot smarter now,” he said.
“I won’t give guys the extra base. I work on my accuracy and am out there throwing every day. It’s a long process and it’s important. I love playing right field, especially at Camden Yards.”
Markakis was aware late in the season that he had not made an error, but he didn’t focus on that.
“I just didn’t let it bother me. I slow the game down mentally, always thinking ahead just trying to prepare for the play that’s about to happen. You try to eliminate the mental errors and more times than not you will be successful,” Markakis said.
Markakis now joins Adam Jones and Paul Blair as the only Orioles outfielders to win a Gold Glove. He agreed that it is a career highlight for him.
“I’d say so, it’s exciting and something I’ll always remember. I’m going to soak this up right now, but when it is all said and done, I’m still going to work towards being the player that I know can best help my team,” he said.