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Markakis Back For O’s, Twins’ Hendriks Hit By Ball

 Liam Hendriks, Minnesota Twins
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Nick Markakis joined his Baltimore teammates to play Tuesday, and that was a pleasant sight for the Orioles.

Markakis went 1 for 5 in his return to the lineup while Twins pitcher Liam Hendriks exited early after being struck in the hand by a line drive in Minnesota’s 9-5 win over the Orioles.

Markakis was the designated hitter in his first exhibition game since March 1 after recovering from a herniated disk in his neck. The outfielder was limited to 104 games last season because of hand and thumb injuries.

“It was good,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He didn’t want to walk the last time. You could tell.”

Showalter said he wanted to play Markakis in right field Wednesday.

“His legs felt good,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Durability had not been a concern for Markakis until last season. From 2007 to 2011, he played in at least 157 games every year. In 2012, he hit .298 with 13 homers and 54 RBIs.

Hendriks, still in the mix for the back end of Minnesota’s rotation, gave up four hits and fanned two in 2 2-3 scoreless innings until a liner by Brian Roberts struck him in the pitching hand.

Hendriks had swelling in his right hand but said he expected to throw his normal bullpen session Thursday.

“I decided to stop it with my hand instead of my face,” Hendriks said. “I had my hand in front of my glove that was in front of my face.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was relieved Hendriks did not get hurt worse.

“I’m glad it didn’t hit him in the face, because that can get you killed,” Gardenhire said. “But he’ll be fine.”

Hendriks, a native of Australia, was 1-8 with a 5.59 ERA last season in 16 big league starts. He has a 4.15 spring ERA after seven starts this year.

“It was just precautionary,” Hendriks said. “I feel fine. The ball was coming out good. It was just one of those things where they took me out just in case it was something more serious. But the pitch count thing does stink a little bit.”

Twins outfielders Aaron Hicks and Chris Parmelee, each set to win starting jobs on opening day, both got three hits and scored twice.

Nate McLouth got three hits and scored twice for Baltimore.

Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft out of LSU, struck out three and gave up three runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings.

“He’s pretty polished,” Showalter said. “You can see why he was so coveted.”

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