Starting right fielder Nick Markakis will miss two to four weeks with a broken bone in his right wrist and make his first trip to the disabled list in his major league career.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was actually pleased with the news.
“It’s actually better than I thought,” Showalter said. “If I woke up and knew I would have been told this, I would have signed up for it in blood.”
Showalter said the injury occurred about 7 to 10 days ago when Markakis’ hand got caught behind him while making a slide into second base.
Markakis had pain in his wrist, but it went away without further incident. Apparently a complete break occurred on a common swing in Markakis’ final at-bat Tuesday. Markakis missed his first game of the season Wednesday, his hand and wrist wrapped tightly.
Markakis’ procedure Friday is a relatively simple one, Showalter said. The broken bone will be removed entirely. The recovery time is mainly just for the surgery itself.
Markakis has missed just 10 games over the past five seasons.
Without him, the Orioles have just two healthy true outfielders — center fielder Adam Jones and Endy Chavez. Infielders Wilson Betemit and Ryan Flaherty have also played the outfield this season.
The Orioles will also need to find a way to replace Markakis’ middle-of-the-order bat. Batting exclusively out of the No. 3 hole, Markakis is hitting .256/.333/.452 with eight homers and 26 RBI in 50 games this season, and he’s hitting .291/.358/.558 with 13 extra-base hits and 15 RBI in his last 21 games.
The Orioles will recall an outfielder from Triple-A Norfolk to replace Markakis on the 25-man roster. Xavier Avery, Lew Ford, Jamie Hoffmann and Bill Hall are possibilities. The Orioles don’t necessarily want to bring Avery back so soon before he has the opportunity to play every day and work on his breaking-ball approach.
Markakis is the eighth player the Orioles have on the disabled list, although Showalter said starting left fielder Nolan Reimold continues to improve from a bulging disk in his neck that’s kept him out of action since April 30.
Jones, who was hit by a pitch in the left wrist Wednesday, is fine and did not need to see a doctor Thursday.
The Orioles have lost a season-high five straight and eight of their last 10 heading into a three-game series against fellow division front-runner Tampa Bay this weekend at Tropicana Field, the middle leg of a three-city, nine-game roadtrip against AL East teams.