LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is coming off the worst year of his career, but manager Buck Showalter cautioned reporters about counting out the 30-year-old's bounce-back ability.
"You get some people who always want you to know what is wrong with them. With Nick, probably half the things [injury-wise] we don't even know," Showalter said of Markakis, who had three surgeries within the calendar year in 2012. "Someone told me the other day that is about as good as he's felt and looked in a long time.
"We'll see. Most of it is health. He is such an internal guy with things like that. Through the years, guys with his approach and makeup, you make a big mistake counting them out."
Markakis hit .271/.329/.356 in 160 games last season and could be an option at leadoff in 2014 if the club doesn't make an external move.
"He's a candidate," Showalter said. "He's one of the guys, if I have to fill it internally, he's a guy that, at the end of the day, we'd look at. In a perfect world, I'd rather not, but I could and I think Nick would do a fine job."
Showalter would like Roberts to return
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter held court with the media Tuesday afternoon, speaking for nearly 30 minutes on a variety of topics, including his desire to bring back second baseman Brian Roberts.
Roberts, who has spent his entire career with the Orioles and is now a free agent, has attracted other suitors in a thin market that's already seen Robinson Cano agree to a 10-year deal with the Mariners. Despite Roberts' difficulty staying on the field the past few seasons, he could help Baltimore fill its hole at leadoff and help stabilize second base, a position executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette indicated earlier this week could go to Ryan Flaherty.
Is Flaherty ready to be a full-time player?
"Could [be]," Showalter said. "The way they do the metrics, they profile him out as hitting 20 home runs at second base and playing pretty good defense. That's a pretty good combo. We have Jemile [Weeks], we have the potential of [prospect] Jonathan Schoop. First and foremost, we have the potential of Brian Roberts. So I like our options."
The switch-hitting Roberts, who will likely get a one-year deal from some team, was able to stay healthy in the season's final few months, and Showalter said in a perfect world the Orioles' roster would include him this spring.
"It's not always a perfect world. It's got to fit for him," Showalter said. "There's some decisions that have to be made when people start changing salaries and fits. ... I think Dan has got it wired, conversations that need to be had will be had."
McFarland could move from 'pen to rotation
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- T.J. McFarland, who was selected by the Orioles in last year's Rule 5 Draft and is coming off a successful winter ball stint, will attend the club's mini-camp in January and compete for a starting rotation spot this spring, manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.
Showalter also hopes to have starter Wei-Yin Chen at the four-day camp, although baseball's rules dictate that the team can't invite any players and it has to go through MLB and their agent first. Chen had surgery to remove bone spurs around his right knee in October, and the organization is hoping to get a handle on where he is physically.
As for Nolan Reimold, whom the organization re-signed for $1.025 million at the non-tender deadline, Showalter said he wasn't sure if the left fielder would be a full-go when Spring Training starts.
"Basically, what keeps coming out of [vice president of baseball operations] Brady [Anderson's mouth] is that [Reimold] is further along than he was last year at this time," Showalter said of Reimold, who is recovering from a neck procedure that marked the second consecutive season-ending operation. "What that means, I don't think anybody knows until we get into the rigors of the baseball full activity. But we're going to take another shot with him.
"In today's world, it's probably pretty cheap when you look at the going rate of things. If Nolan comes back 100 percent, we've got something, a pretty good deal, so I'm pulling for him. It's been a long, tough road for him. When you look at what he's gone through and how it happened and the whole nine yards, he got injured diving into the stands trying to help his club win.
"The organization, [owner] Mr. [Peter] Angelos, has been very loyal to Nolan in not just closing the door on him. I'm proud of that."
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.