Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is scheduled to have an MRI Monday afternoon and hopes the neck spasms that he has been coping with since March 3 aren't anything serious.
Markakis was taken out of the lineup on March 3 and hasn't played since. He had three surgeries in 2012 and missed the Orioles' first postseason appearance in 15 years with a broken thumb.
He said Sunday he thinks the MRI is "probably more of a precaution to see what's going on in there and identify exactly what it is that's bothering me."
For the previous five seasons, Markakis averaged 160 games. Baltimore is coming off its first winning season since Markakis arrived in 2006 and many Orioles say with him back, the team will be much better.
"It's a compliment. They were pretty good without me last year," Markakis said. "To be part of it and a contributor is going to be fun and exciting. It's hard to say if one person can impact the whole lineup. They can, but we've had great guys filling in last year and we've got great guys this year. We've got depth."
Markakis had abdominal surgery in Jan. 2012 which slowed him in spring training last year, a broken bone in his right hand that required another procedure in June, and a broken left thumb when New York's CC Sabathia drilled him with a pitch in September.
That was the most painful injury. His season over, Markakis and Brian Roberts both traveled with the team during the postseason, though he claimed he could have played had the team reached the World Series.
"I've been waiting a long time. Every person in this clubhouse is competitive, and they want to win. When you get there and get it taken away from you, it's tough," Markakis said.
"There's always another chance. That's the good thing about baseball. We go out there and play every day. It's a long season. To get to where you want to go, it's tough. It's tough when you're there and you can't participate. That's our goal this year. If you ask anybody in this clubhouse, they'd say the same thing."