Markakis, Tillman and the Rays’ lineup

SARASOTA, Fla. - Nick Markakis stood at his locker this morning, held a bat and took a couple of swings. He didn’t have an ice pack on his neck.

So far, so good.

Markakis, cleared yesterday to begin baseball activities, will hit off a tee and do some light throwing as part of a three- or four-day progression.

“That’s what I was hoping for,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do today, but I’ll do a little bit and get reevaluated tomorrow and go from there.”

Markakis hasn’t played since March 1, but he’s got time to get the necessary plate appearances to be ready for the April 2 opener in St. Petersburg.

“I think the way I have it planned out, I can always go over to the minor leagues and get ABs,” he said. “I’d like to get in three or four games before and that will put me right around 25 at-bats going into the season. That’s if we don’t have any setbacks, and hopefully we don’t have any.”

Chris Tillman will start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton. Brian Matusz will start that same day at Twin Lakes Park.

The Orioles still haven’t posted their lineup this morning.

Starter Steve Johnson will be facing a split squad for the Rays, who sent a few of their regulars to Bradenton.

For the Rays:
Sean Rodriguez 2B
Mike Fontenot LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Leslie Anderson RF
Yunel Escobar SS
James Loney 1B
Jose Molina C
Jack Cust DH
Jason Bourgeois CF

Jeff Niemann RHP

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