Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/25/12

Some players are evaluated on what they bring to a team.

The tangible, the intangible -- the talking point is always the positive influence they have on their club.

For other players, the discussion centers around what could be, what hasn't become yet or what some think may never happen.

The analysis of what a player isn't often has to do with expectations.

For Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, the label of first-round pick has a lot to do with the "what he isn't" analysis, and the six-year, $66 million contract he signed in January 2009 is a factor for heightened expectations.

Markakis, 28, is often undervalued on the field. His stats are solid but unspectacular: He's a career .293 hitter with an average of 18 homers and 85 RBI per 162 games.

But in many ways, Markakis is the Cal Ripken of his era -- he's a reliable, steady influence that his manager and teammates usually can count on for 160 games a year.

This season, however, he is on the disabled list for the first time following hand surgery. He's been out since May 30.

The first injury of Markakis' seven-year career that landed him on the sideline may tell the whole story.

Orioles batters, aside from Markakis, have had 89 at-bats as No. 3 hitters this season. Combined, they are batting .180 (16-for-89) with two doubles, two homers and seven RBI.

Right fielders not named Markakis? Even worse. They have batted .157 (13-for-83) with one homer (by Steve Pearce) and nine RBI.

Manager Buck Showalter has used a series of journeymen and utility players in left and right field while Nolan Reimold and Markakis have been out. In center field, Adam Jones has started every game.

Regularly a first baseman, Chris Davis was used in right field while the Orioles were playing interleague games in National League parks. He's also been the primary No. 3 hitter while Markakis has been out.

The streaky Davis enters Tuesday's series opener with the Angels on an 0-for-27 slump, walking twice and striking out nine times in that eight-game span.

That slump began when he played his first game in right field.

Others who have played in right field: Pearce (3-for-13), Endy Chavez (7-for-23), Ryan Flaherty (3-for-19) and Bill Hall (0-for-2).

The options at Class AAA Norfolk aren't plentiful. Lew Ford has hit .354 with five homers and 23 RBI in 33 games since joining the club last month. Hall and prospects L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery are also contributing to the Tides.

However, the Orioles are waiting on Markakis, unwilling to make any rash decisions with Mr. Reliable returning in the coming weeks.

Markakis is making progress but won't play before July -- and possibly not before the All-Star break.

"He's still got soreness in the wound," manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis' surgically repaired hand. "Until that goes away, he is not going to swing a bat."

The Orioles have maintained a 12-10 record without Markakis. For Showalter, replacing Markakis has been less of a task than keeping Markakis healthy and on schedule.

"The challenge for us is keeping the bat out of his hand," Showalter said shortly after the June 1 surgery.

A one-month rehab was the goal from the get-go, while Markakis aimed for a return within two weeks.

Realistically, he should return around the All-Star break.

"I see light at the end of the tunnel. I just want to take it (slow) and make sure it's all healed up," he said last week. "I'm not where I want to be right now, but that's coming from me."

Until then, the Orioles will look to role players to fill in, and to their other regulars to step up.

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