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3/5/2013 9:44 A.M. ET

Neck stiffness to keep Markakis out a few days

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Nick Markakis said he will be out at least a few more days, as the O's right fielder is dealing with neck stiffness that has sidelined him since Sunday.

"I don't know if I did it lifting or something, but I just went home a couple nights ago and started getting a pain in my neck, and I tried to stretch it out and that didn't help, obviously," Markakis said. "The next morning I woke up and it was real stiff and bothering me. I've never had anything like it, so I didn't know what to expect."

Markakis was examined by team doctors on Sunday and there was no structural damage found, and he said Tuesday it's gradually feeling better, which is a good sign.

"The good thing is I wasn't getting any numbness or any pain down my arm or leg or anything, so we've kind of ruled out anything with a disk probably," he said. "That's good. Today's better than yesterday, so that's all we can hope for and we move on from there.

"If the season was going on today, I would probably be able to play. But it's spring, so we'll take it easy -- nice and slow, no rush."

Markakis is coming off season-ending thumb surgery, and he has played in at least 160 games in three of the last four years. He's played in four games this spring, going 3-for-12 with an RBI and two strikeouts, and he traditionally hasn't needed a lot of Grapefruit League action to get ready for the season.

Markakis hasn't done any baseball activities since Sunday, and he will continue to get treatment and be re-evaluated from there. Veteran starters like Markakis typically only play home games during the early portion of camp, and the Orioles play at home on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.