Markakis returns to lineup, bats leadoff

Markakis returns to lineup, bats leadoff

BALTIMORE -- Nick Markakis is back, and the right fielder's return will signal a small change at the top of the Orioles' lineup.

Manager Buck Showalter put Markakis (.256, eight homers, 26 RBI) in the leadoff spot for Friday's game with the Tigers. With Brian Roberts out again, the Orioles need someone who can hit and get on base at the top of the order, and Showalter thought Markakis would fit the bill.

"It was something that I had thought about [when] seeing how we were going to be constructed post-break," Showalter said. "As always with Nick, whatever the club needs. I think he really liked the idea of getting a few more at-bats so he can catch up a little bit."

J.J. Hardy stayed second, with Jim Thome moving to the No. 3 spot, and Adam Jones fourth. Chris Davis moved to left field for the first time this season. He'd played 15 games in right while Markakis was out.

Markakis batted third in his first 50 games this season. He suffered a broken right hamate bone (wrist) and last played on May 29.

The right fielder said he believes this is going to be his first time batting leadoff in the Major Leagues. Showalter said Markakis could wind up with 30-50 extra at-bats if he remains in the top spot.

But the right fielder said mainly he's just glad to be back in the lineup. This is his seventh season with the Orioles and that was his first trip to the disabled list.

"It was tough," he said. "It was definitely something different. I'm just glad it's over with. I had a little heads-up [about batting leadoff]. You do what you've got to do."