Nick Markakis hasn’t played in a Grapefruit League game since March 1 due to a small disc herniation in his neck, but all signs are pointing toward him being ready for Opening Day next Tuesday against the Rays.
According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Markakis was cleared to return to games after he took batting practice for the second straight day this afternoon. The plan calls for him to serve as the designated hitter in tomorrow’s Grapefruit League game against the Twins. The Orioles likely wouldn’t risk playing him on the major league side if they didn’t think he’d be ready for the season, so this can be taken as a sign that his neck is no longer an issue.
Markakis was limited to just 104 games last season due to hamate bone surgery and a broken left thumb. However, the 29-year-old posted his highest OPS (.834) since 2008.
The Reds claimed second baseman Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Brewers, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Tuesday.
Gennett, who turns 27 years old on May 1, was expendable as the Brewers planned to use Jonathan Villar on an everyday basis at second base. He’ll provide infield depth in Cincinnati.
Over parts of four seasons in the majors, Gennett has hit .279/.318/.420 with 35 home runs and 160 RBI in 1,637 plate appearances.
UPDATE: Welp, we wont’ get to see that:
8:53 AM: It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.