BALTIMORE — The normally mild-mannered Nick Markakis was asked on Friday how he’s handled being on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.
The right fielder is itching to return to the field after undergoing surgery to remove the broken hamate bone in his right wrist exactly three weeks ago. . If he has it his way, it will come before the All-Star Break.
“It’s terrible, it’s horses–t,” said Markakis in describing his time on the disabled list. “It is what it is. It’s just one of those things that I’ve got to get through.”
Still wearing a bandage covering the surgical wound on his right hand, Markakis will rest over the weekend in hopes of being cleared to begin taking swings on Monday. There isn’t a definitive timetable in place for his return to the lineup, but the 28-year-old hopes to progress from dry swings to tee work to live pitching in a short period of time.
But the decision isn’t up to him.
The original estimation of three to four weeks for a return seemed overly ambitious when news broke of the outfielder needing surgery, but Markakis looks like he won’t need the typical six-to-eight week recovery period that many past players experiencing the same injury have taken.
“I’m not where I want to be right now, but that’s coming from me,” Markakis said. “They’re telling me I’m ahead of where I need to be.”
Markakis had initially hoped to avoid going on a minor league rehab assignment, but he acknowledged needing one after his original goal to begin taking swings on Friday was not approved by the club. However, manager Buck Showalter is remaining optimistic that Markakis’ goal of returning in early July can be met.
“I’ll hold out hope that’s the case too,” Showalter said. “But it’s an inexact science. Keep in mind, he’s ahead of normal schedule of people that do this. You don’t want to do anything to set that back.”
With the news of Nolan Reimold likely being sidelined for the rest of the season due to neck surgery, the Orioles would love to have Markakis’ bat and glove back in the lineup as soon as possible. Injuries to the two Opening Day starters have left Adam Jones playing between two players with little experience in the outfield, making for a weaker defensive alignment.
Never playing fewer than 147 games in any of his first six years, Markakis knows he’s progressing but understands the importance of avoiding a setback with the Orioles in contention in late June for the first time in his career.
“I see light at the end of the tunnel,” Markakis said. “I just want to take it [slow] and make sure it’s all healed up.”
Listen to Markakis’ entire interview prior to Friday’s game in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.