Markakis on leaving the Orioles, his neck, and his new team

As expected, Nick Markakis had his physical in Atlanta today and his four-year deal with the Braves should be made official at some point this weekend. He held court with reporters in Atlanta in the clubhouse afterward and will wear No. 22 for the Braves.

Markakis is expected to undergo surgery to repair a herniated disc in his cervical spine, with a recovery time of 8-12 weeks that would keep him in line to start the season.

“Everything, I hear about it, it’s not going to be an issue,” Markakis said of his neck, which is what caused the Orioles to become wary of offering him a four-year deal. I don’t have anything now. It’s just a precautionary thing. We’ll get it taken care of and it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Of leaving a Baltimore organization where he spent his entire career, including the last nine big league seasons, Markakis told reporters: “[The Orioles] gave me an opportunity early in life. I can’t take that away from them. That is where I started learning and establishing a foundation for this occupation. They were great to me. I have a lot of great memories there and a lot of great friends. That’s something that will never be taken away from me in my career.

Teammates are taken away from you. But your friendship that you develop with other players over the years is something that won’t be forgotten. Everything I did over there is in my past now. I don’t hold any grudge. I don’t think there is anything I could have done different. In this job, things like happen.”

Markakis went to high school in Georgia, about 30 miles outside of Atlanta and didn’t think he’d end up having a hometown reunion.

“It’s not something I was really looking at, it’s just something that kind of happened,” he said. “The way I look at it is this is a business, anything can happen at any given moment. Things just didn’t work out. I couldn’t be happier being here than anywhere else.”

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