Markakis a quick study in leadoff spot

Markakis a quick study in leadoff spot

CLEVELAND -- Right fielder Nick Markakis didn't take long to adjust to his new spot atop the batting order.

Markakis, who returned from the disabled list on July 13 after missing more than a month with a wrist injury, has energized the offense out of the leadoff spot. He entered Friday's game against Cleveland hitting .387 (12-for-31) with four doubles and an RBI in his first seven games in the new role. Markakis had never hit in the top spot prior to this stretch.

"He's getting on base, and getting more at-bats," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "Nick's about doing what the club needs. He doesn't have an ego. He could hit about anywhere in our order."

Showalter said it's too early to know whether Markakis is the long-term answer in the leadoff spot. For now, though, the Orioles seem to have found at least a temporary solution.

"We'll see how things work out," Showalter said. "I'm hoping Brian [Roberts] gets back and is healthy with us, because we know what kind of leadoff guy he can be. But in the meantime, we'll continue to go with Nick. He's done well there."