Braves outfielder Nick Markakis returned from the injured list Friday after missing 43 games with a fractured left wrist. Here’s what he said to reporters Friday afternoon before the series opener at Washington, when Markakis was manning left field and slated fifth in the lineup.
» How’d it feel coming back into the clubhouse today and seeing yourself back in the lineup and the 5-hole?
“It felt good. Long time coming. Seems like when you’re on the (injured list) things take a little longer than you want them, too. Everything went well with the training staff and everybody involved. I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for them, so I’m thankful for that and ready to get it started.”
» After that first day taking swings, did you feel pretty confident that (Friday) was a realistic return date for you?
“I had a personal goal. It was a little sooner than what everybody else expected, but I’m at the point of my career where I know my body pretty well, know what I can and can’t do. Everything felt good. It was a matter of getting the soreness out. The bone’s healed. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting back into the swing of things.”
» You’re moving to left field. You’re comfortable enough having played some there before to make that transition?
“I played it enough. It’s just the opposite of right. Balls are going to come off the bat the opposite way. It’s just a matter of knowing the ballparks and what left fields have to offer. Knowing angles. There’s a little more homework to do now that you’re doing it midseason, or towards the end of the season. It’s just another position. I’ll go out there and figure it out.”
» Is this a good time to come back? From the perspective of gearing up for the postseason.
“I definitely wanted to come back. I didn’t know when or where it would be. It just happened to be this weekend. I’m going to prepare myself, put myself in every position possible to make this team better and win as many ballgames as we can. It’s an exciting day. I know these guys have been busting their butt all year. It’s been fun to watch them. And I’m ready to be part of it again.”
» Manager Brian Snitker said it’d be up to you if you wanted to flip between left and right field when Matt Joyce isn’t in the lineup. Have you decided how you want to handle that?
“I’m not going to be that guy who has to play one position. I’ve played right field my whole career. I know there comes a point in time where things are shaken up and things change. I’m just here to do my job no matter where it is, any position. I’m open to whatever to make this team better. That’s the way I look at it, and that’s how I’ll approach it.”