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Markakis nabs monthly rookie honor

Markakis nabs monthly rookie honor

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Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis isn't much of a talker, but he's let a hot bat speak for him lately.

Markakis batted .354 (34-for-96) with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs during the month of August. He also had 71 total bases, a .740 slugging percentage and scored 22 runs during that span.

Those numbers were enough to propel Markakis to his first American League Rookie of the Month honors.

"The guy's been so consistent over the last few months, and he's made great adjustments at this level," Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said. "He's got power in batting practice. It's a matter of knowing how to use it, and he's obviously doing that right now."

A couple of months had already passed before Markakis really began to utilize that power in games, though. He homered just twice in April, twice in July and went homerless in 136 at-bats over May and June.

Somehow, though, he hammered 10 balls over outfield fences in only 96 August at-bats.

"He certainly has come on strong," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "We said all along, 'Give him a chance to get his feet on the ground and learn some pitchers, get some confidence.' Obviously, he has that. We said his power would come, but I kind of thought it would come a little later than it has so far."

Better late than never, right?

"It's just fun to watch the kids go out there and do as well as they're doing," Perlozzo said. "It sure does give us hope for next year."

Now Markakis is making a case that he should be the league's Rookie of the Year. He's hitting .304 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs in 123 games.

"He's hitting better than anyone we've got for average over the last couple months," Perlozzo said.

And how many 22-year-olds in baseball history can say they've homered three times in one game? Markakis hit a career-high three home runs Aug. 22 against the Twins. That feat made him the first American League rookie with three homers in a game since Devil Rays right fielder Jonny Gomes went deep three times last July.

"For him to come out here and do that in his rookie season is pretty phenomenal," Orioles left-hander Adam Loewen said of Markakis' accomplishment. "It gives us hope for the future."

Markakis would probably agree, but he instead gave credit to Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley for his three-homer game and successes this season.

"Terry Crowley, I can't say it enough, he's done a great job," Markakis said. "He puts good things in my head. He keeps working just as hard as I am out there. It's been good, and hopefully, we can continue."

Kevin Yanik is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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