HOUSTON -- Nick Markakis is dealing with some neck stiffness, so the right fielder got a modified day off, serving as the O's designated hitter on Sunday.
"Ever since my herniated disc, it pops up from time to time. Just something I have to deal with," said Markakis, who almost didn't play in Saturday's game.
"I'm still a little stiff, but it's better than [Saturday], so it's moving in the right direction."
Markakis, who never wants to come out of the lineup, has been getting treatment on the area and Showalter said Nelson Cruz -- who had been bothered by calf tightness -- is a full-go in the field, so the manager wanted to take advantage of that.
"Nick's neck is better," Showalter said Sunday. "I hope it is the same as yesterday. He's something. I can't tell you how many guys wouldn't have played yesterday --- not wouldn't have, but wouldn't have come in here and tried to work all morning, trying to get it to loosen up. A lot of guys would have just woken up and said, 'I'm out.' That's what you can't evaluate with analytics. Where's that show up?"
Markakis, who entered Sunday batting .300, said the blow at DH and Monday's off-day should help him be ready to go for Tuesday's series opener in Arlington.
"I"m fine with it," he said. "Gives me an extra day. Throwing bothers it more than hitting, so it's good to get a DH day every now and then."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.