Markakis Happy May Days Over

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Right Fielder Hit Just .240 Last Month

Scott Gets Award

June 02, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

SEATTLE - -Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis entered this season as a career .231 hitter in May, so his struggles last month, when he batted just .240 compared with .381 in April, couldn't have been a complete surprise. What was alarming was the decline in his walk totals.

In his past 27 games spanning 118 plate appearances entering Monday's series opener against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, the normally patient Markakis had drawn just three walks and none in 13 straight contests.

To put that in perspective, Markakis had four walks in the previous three games before the stretch started and 16 walks over his first 24 games this season.

"I'm just pressing too much, maybe being overaggressive," said Markakis, who had 99 walks in 2008 and 61 the previous season. "I'm not staying within myself and trying to do just the things that I'm capable of. I'm trying to do too much. I just need to relax. It's not a one-person team. We have a great lineup, a great team now. I just have to relax and have fun."

Overall, Markakis hit .240 in May with a .281 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage.

"I don't know what it is about May," he said. "I think I kind of get frustrated with myself at the beginning. This year, I started out great, and I think I got a little home-run-happy. I tried to do much and got myself into really bad habits. When you do that, it takes a while to get out of it. I guess, overall, May is not a very good month. I'm glad May is over with. Hopefully I can get started on the right foot in June and actually contribute to the success of the team."

Scott honored

Orioles designated hitter Luke Scott played in only five games since coming off the disabled list Wednesday, but that was plenty of time for him to put up numbers that earned him recognition as the American League Player of the Week. Scott went 8-for-18 (.444) with six homers, 14 RBIs, seven runs and three walks in winning the award for the second time in his career.

Aubrey Huff was the last Oriole to garner Player of the Week honors, earning the distinction for the week of Aug. 21, 2008.

"I look at it like this: It's a tremendous blessing," Scott said. "I'm very thankful. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope it continues for the rest of the year. Just keep going out there, having good at-bats and enjoy the competition."

During the week, Scott homered in four straight games, becoming the first Oriole to do that since shortstop Miguel Tejada, who was sent to the Houston Astros for Scott and four players, from April 26 to May 1, 2005. Scott's back-to-back multi-homer games were a first for the Orioles since Albert Belle did it June 15-16, 2000.

On the farm

Orioles top pitching prospect Chris Tillman, who skipped his last start at Triple-A Norfolk because of groin tightness, is scheduled to start for the Tides today, director of player development David Stockstill said.

Double-A Bowie pitching prospect Brandon Erbe, who hasn't pitched since April 29 because of shoulder fatigue, will make a rehabilitation start or two for Single-A Aberdeen, whose season doesn't begin until June 19, before rejoining the Baysox rotation. Stockstill said Erbe (McDonogh) is "progressing very, very well, but we're going to be cautious with him."

After throwing 14 scoreless innings over his past two starts, Single-A Frederick left-hander Brian Matusz was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week.

Talking Koji

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Koji Uehara will throw his next session Wednesday in preparation for his scheduled June 10 start. Asked whether the Orioles would consider going to a six-man rotation when Uehara returns from the disabled list, Trembley said the club might do that in September, but not at this point.

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