Markakis to get MRI on Monday

Nick Markakis  will get an MRI on his neck on Monday in what is being termed a precautionary measure for the right fielder, who has been bothered with neck stiffness since Sunday and isn’t getting much better.

“Just to be on the safe side on Monday,” manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis, who last played March 1 and was improving until reaggravating the area on Thursday. “Monday or Tuesday. Think it’s Monday.”

Markakis was scratched from Sunday’s lineup when he reported having a neck spasm that morning upon arriving at the team’s facility. It’s the latest in an unfortunate injury bout for Markakis, one of the team’s toughest players, who had three surgeries (abdominal, right wrist and left thumb) in the 2012 calendar year.

“I’m not going to downplay it. We’ll see,” Showalter said of Markakis’ injury. “When you get something that has kind of cropped up twice, information is a good thing…I haven’t been told anything to make me think there’s a sense of urgency with that. I asked Nick about it and he goes, ‘Whatever.’ We’ll see. It wasn’t much improved today though. About the same as yesterday. It gets better as the day goes on, and when he wakes up it’s real stiff.”

Slated to be the team’s starting right fielder, Markakis has played in at least 160 games in three of the last four years. He’s played in four games this spring, going 3-for-12 with an RBI and two strikeouts, and traditionally hasn’t needed a lot of Grapefruit League action to get ready for the season.

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