Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis said Tuesday that the stiffness in his neck are getting better but added he will likely still be out of the lineup for at least the next few days.
“It’s safe to say a couple more days,” Markakis said. “If the season was going on today I would probably be able to play today, but its spring so we’ll take it easy, nice and slow, no rush

Markakis was scratched from the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Pirates when he woke up with a stiff neck.

“I don’t know if I did it lifting or something but I just went home a couple nights ago and started getting a pain in my neck and I tried to stretch it out and that didn’t help obviously,” Markakis said. “The next morning I woke up and it was real stiff and bothering me. I’ve never had anything like it so I didn’t know what to expect.

Markakis, who hasn’t done any baseball activity since waking up with the stiffness, said he couldn’t move his neck at all on Sunday morning. He said if affects most of his movements, side to side and up and down.

“The good thing is I wasn’t getting any numbness or any pain down my arm or leg or anything so we’ve kind of ruled out anything with a disc probably,” Markakis said. “That’s good. Today’s better than yesterday so that’s all we can hope for and we move on from there.

“I’ll get my treatment and hopefully I’ll be out there in a couple days.”

Markakis, who traditionally needed many spring training at bats to get ready for the season, 3-for-12 with one RBI and two walks in four Grapefruit League games.

Markakis, who went into the last season having played in at least 160 games in four of the past five seasons, underwent three surgeries in the 2012 calendar yearm including a season-ending left thumb surgery in early September when he was hit by a CC Sabathia fastball.

The Orioles play at home on Wednesday and Thursday and then don't play at Ed Smith Stadium again until Sunday. Veteran starters usually don't make road trips early in spring training.