ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Right fielder Nick Markakis ranked 10th among American League outfielders in the most recent All-Star Game fan balloting, but manager Buck Showalter campaigned Wednesday for the team's longest-tenured player to make his first Midsummer Classic.
“Oh sure, you kidding?” Showalter said when asked if Markakis was deserving. “I am biased. I’m not sure who the other [top vote-getters] are. … He makes our highlight reel every night.”
Markakis, 30, passed Ken Singleton on Monday for sole possession of sixth place on the Orioles’ all-time hits list. After going 1-for-4 in the club’s 2-0 win Wedneday, Markakis now has 1,459 career hits.
The five players who Markakis trails on the club’s all-time hits list — Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, Brady Anderson and Boog Powell — combined for 51 All-Star Games in Orioles uniforms, but he is still looking for his first.
Hitting almost exclusively from the leadoff spot in the lineup, Markakis’ 28 multihit games were tied through Tuesday for the most in the major leagues. While hitting .300 so far this season, he has hitting streaks of 18 and 14 games and has continued to play Gold Glove-caliber defense.
“He doesn't have an ego hitting,” Showalter said. “He’s going to seek his level. He’s not going to equate his year with how many home runs he hits or, it’s like, ‘Hey Nicky, I need you to hit third, I need you to be a four-hole hitter.’ He wouldn't change anything however you put him. He’s figured out who he is and what he’s capable of doing.”
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz and Wieters are the leading vote-getters at their respective positions. Even though Wieters is out for the season, he continues to extend his lead over New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann in fan voting.
So should Wieters, who had Tommy John surgery Tuesday, attend the All-Star Game if he’s voted in by the fans even if he can’t play?
“Yeah, I hope so,” Showalter said. “He’s earned certain parts of that. He really has. It was a hell of a month.”