Nick Markakis underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn rectus abdominus muscle and may not be ready for the beginning of spring training.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes that Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman missed six weeks after undergoing the same surgery and Markakis told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he won’t be cleared to do anything but walk for at least three weeks.
Connolly reports that the injury kept Markakis from doing any workouts this offseason, but when asked about his status for Opening Day the Orioles right fielder said: “I don’t think it’s an issue. It wont take me that long to get back in swing of things.”
If his recovery goes smoothly Markakis is probably right, but at the very least he figures to be behind schedule early in camp and may not be at 100 percent to begin the season even if he’s in the lineup.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.