Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis was back in the Orioles' clubhouse Wednesday for the first time since undergoing surgery on his left thumb on Tuesday morning.

Markakis was surprisingly upbeat talking to reporters, still optimistic that he could rejoin the club if the O's play deep into the postseason.

Initially Markakis was slated to have a T-plate inserted, but instead two pins were placed in the thumb to hold the bones in place. Because of that, Markakis will have to keep the thumb immobilized for the next three weeks until the pins can be removed.  The good news is that there’s no incision that needs to heal.

“I’m good. It’s just one of those things you have to go through,” Markakis said. “It is what it is. I’ll get through it. I won’t be able to move it. If I had a plate I’d be able to get some movement going. With the pins, I have to wait three weeks for that.”

Like he did when he had right wrist surgery earlier this year, Markakis will remain with the team throughout. He will see the doctor who performed the surgery, Brian Schofield, when the Orioles visit Tampa Bay for the last series of the regular season Oct. 1-3.

“I’ll probably know a lot more then,” Markakis said.

Even though he will be sidelined, Markakis' presence will be important to the Orioles as they push for a playoff berth for the first time in 15 years.

“I know it’s important for both of us,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Nicky’s one of the most, in a nice way, miserable DL guys I’ve ever had. And it will be tough on him but it will be even tougher on him if he wasn’t there.

“It’s great for everybody because we are kind of feeding off the idea that we are trying to accomplish the playoff picture so Nick had the potential to return to us. You know, it’s a long shot for him to be able to make that physically. But one of the thing we learned here is Nick is one of our quicker healers, physically. I know Nicky’s talking about the amount of milk he’s planning on drinking. He actually is.”

Markakis will be able to keep his legs in shape – riding the exercise bike and doing other exercises – but he said being with his teammates helps aid his recovery.

“Once you’re around guys for eight months, the same guys every day, you bond together and you’re here for each other,” Markakis said. “I’ll be with them. It will be just as much as any other day other than not playing. I’ll still be in the dugout supporting them and rooting them on.

“It’s going to be fun for me though,” he added. “I’m not going to be out there, but I’m part of this team. I’m a fan now. I’m rooting them on and I get to travel with these guys and watch them finish up the season and have fun and it’s exciting the way they’re playing right now.  It’s going to be tought but it’s going to be fun at the same time.”

In other news around the Orioles clubhouse:

-- Jason Hammel's MRI was moved back to Thursday at 10 a.m. He saw team orthopedist John Wilckens today, but more will be known after the MRI tomorrow. Hammel said he's frustrated because it feels just like it did when he hurt the right knee earlier this season and needed surgery.

-- Showalter said left-hander Troy Patton and designated hitter Jim Thome will start participating in intructional league games in Sarasota, Fla.. Showalter said Patton could throw in a game by Monday, Thome possibly sooner.

-- Here are tonight's lineups:

Orioles
Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Wilson Betemit DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Chris Davis  RF
Manny Machado 3B
Robert Andino 2B
Miguel Gonzalez RHP

Rays
B.J. Upton CF
Jeff Keppinger DH
Ben Zobrist SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Ben Francisco LF
Carlos Pena 1B
Ryan Roberts 2B
Matt Joyce RF
Jose Molina C
Alex Cobb RHP