SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis doubled twice and tripled Friday afternoon as part of a four-hit day. He doubled and scored yesterday.
All that training over the winter and the extra muscle added to his arms and legs haven't gone to waste.
Markakis is 8-for-13 with four doubles, a triple and four runs scored in four spring training games. He's running the bases aggressively and tracking down balls in the gap and near the line.
He did it twice in the top of the fourth inning yesterday as reporters interviewed starting pitcher Bud Norris beside the Orioles bullpen. One catch came in front of Adam Jones in right-center, the other a few steps from the line. On both occasions, he was in full stride and casually reached up for the ball.
"Nick looks good," said manager Buck Showalter. "He's actually running better, too. He's really focused a lot down here, too, on his running.
"We've been kidding him. He hasn't had to do a lot of it back there (on the back fields) because he's doing a lot of it on the bases, doubles and triples. He doesn't have to run in the field now. He looks good."
Markakis figures to be in the lineup again today against Pirates right-hander Edinson Volquez. He batted leadoff yesterday while David Lough did the same in the 7:05 p.m. game in Fort Myers.
The way Markakis has swung the bat so far, he could be headed toward a lower slot in the lineup once the games count. Then again, there's nothing wrong with a doubles machine atop the order.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, 20, gave up a two-run homer to Bryce Brentz over two innings yesterday, but he also struck out four batters.
"You can see why we like him," Showalter said. "His pitch sequence, one of the reasons he gave up that run, he got real patterned. Other than that, Eduardo, lots of buzz up there in the scout section about guys like him and (Tim) Berry."
Nolan Reimold went 1-for-4 last night in Fort Myers, reaching twice on errors, and is 2-for-13 with an RBI, three walks and four strikeouts this spring. Both hits are infield singles.
Evan Meek retired the Red Sox in order in the fourth and fifth innings and has set down all 12 batters that he's faced this spring. He's struck out four.
Meek was an All-Star with the Pirates in 2010, but his career was derailed by a shoulder injury. He's healthy and opening a lot of fresh eyes in camp.
Jemile Weeks is only 2-for-14, but he drew three more walks and stole three more bases to give him five in both categories. He's also been hit by a pitch, and he scored his fourth run of the spring last night.
Who's tied for the team lead in RBIs? Weeks, Xavier Paul and Johnny Monell with five.
Pretty cool that Mike Yastrzemski got to play left field at JetBlue Park last night, with its replica Green Monster. Also cool that he drove in two runs.
And finally, left-hander Troy Patton got to pitch in a game. The ninth inning of a 13-0 game.
Patton gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Christian Vazquez, but I don't think it goes down in the books as a blown save.