Nick Markakis made his spring training debut today after having abdominal surgery in January, going 0-for-2 with a walk as the Orioles’ designated hitter.
Afterward he told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that “it was fine” and “I was just happy to get out there and get some at bats and start this thing off right and get it going in the right direction.”
He’s scheduled to play the outfield for the first time on Tuesday, so it’s tough to get a good feel for his status until then considering Markakis didn’t have to move around much today.
For now he’s slightly ahead of the initial recovery timetable and, barring setbacks, should have time to be ready for Opening Day.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.