Markakis Responds In Hot July

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 2, 2006

BALTIMORE, Aug. 1 -- Although Miguel Tejada, who sweated through the July 31 trade deadline, may have welcomed the new month, perhaps not so Baltimore Orioles rookie outfielder Nick Markakis, who hit .403 (31 for 77) in July. Since June 18, Markakis has hit .395 (51 for 129) to raise his average from .219 to .298 after Tuesday's game.

"In the beginning, I couldn't get comfortable or get a feel for the pitchers," Markakis said. "Now I've seen them and I'm more comfortable."

Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo said the team had considered sending Markakis to the minors during the first few months of the season.

"We had some discussions about it," he said.

Perlozzo said the team had given Markakis a three-week trial in order to get his average up. Markakis, who leads all major league players with a .433 average (39 for 90) since June 28, responded. Markakis credits some of his success to lowering his hands in his batting stance.

"It's one of those things you tweak around with and it's been working," he said.

Markakis's home run to center field on Monday was his fourth of the season.

"Power numbers are the last thing I'm thinking about," he said. "Eventually the power is going to come."

Abreu's Up in Bullpen Shuffle

Before Tuesday's game the Orioles called up reliever Winston Abreu, 29, from Class AAA Ottawa. Reliever Eddy Rodriguez was sent down to Ottawa to make room for Abreu, who spent 10 1/2 seasons in the minor leagues before getting called up for the first time. Abreu was out of baseball in 2003. He also missed a season with ligament replacement surgery. Abreu had a 2.98 ERA for Ottawa in 54 1/3 innings.

"This is a great opportunity," he said. "This is what every player wants."

UP NEXT Today vs. Seattle 3:05 p.m. Bedard (12-6, 3.87) vs. Hernandez (9-9, 4.60) Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980 Friday vs. Yankees 7:05 p.m. Chen (0-6, 7.07) vs. Johnson (11-9, 5.07) Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

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