Markakis undergoes surgery on abdomen (updated)

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis underwent surgery yesterday in Philadelphia to repair a torn muscle in his abdomen, but the club expects him to be ready for opening day.

Markakis left the final regular season game on Sept. 28 against the Red Sox after making a diving catch. He was expected to visit a specialist this winter as a precaution, but the injury didn't heal properly and surgery was recommended. Scar tissue was preventing the tear from closing.

The surgery was performed by sports hernia specialist Dr. William Meyers.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he spoke with Markakis on Wednesday and again last night.

Showalter said he'll "slow play" Markakis in spring training, likely holding him out of exhibition games until the middle of March. Markakis and Showalter are confident that the right fielder will be in the opening day lineup on April 6 against the Minnesota Twins.

Players always complain that spring training lasts too long, and Markakis doesn't need many at-bats to get ready. His normal preparation in January will be delayed until the following month, and Showalter will ease him into the Grapefruit League schedule. He hasn't been able to work out.

Markakis walked about three-quarters of a mile this morning and is feeling good. It's just going to be a process to get him back on the field.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman underwent the same procedure and missed six weeks.

Markakis initially believed that he suffered a deep bruise after making the catch. He rarely leaves a game, so his exit brought some concerns within the organization.

A second MRI revealed more serious damage. Markakis would reach about 80 percent in his recovery, but never got beyond that point.

Markakis batted .284 with 31 doubles, 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 160 games last season. He didn't commit an error and won his first Gold Glove.

The Sun first reported that Markakis underwent surgery.

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