Markakis talks about his surgery and eventual return

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Nick Markakis arrived in the clubhouse today with his right wrist wrapped and his arm in a sling, which he said wasn't needed. He was a little groggy, but he still exchanged quips with catcher Matt Wieters, who asked whether Markakis could play tonight "with that thing."

"I can pinch-run," he replied.

Markakis underwent a 20-minute procedure this morning to remove the broken portion of the hamate bone in his right wrist. The hook on the bone cracked in half during a Tuesday night at-bat in Toronto.

"I was a little more relieved after my MRI and they told me what it was. I wasn't happy, but I was pretty happy with the results," he said.

"I know when I hurt it. I can't remember what series. It was two or three weeks ago. I slid into second base to break up a double play and I got my back hand down a little bit too early and kind of shifted a little more weight on my back hand than I wanted to, and it kind of felt like a jam. Nothing alarming. I played the past couple weeks and it wasn't bothering me swinging. I was able to take 100 percent swings and I think I stress fractured it on that slide, and the past couple weeks I was playing with it and that one swing just kind of finished it off.

"That hook on my hamate bone just cracked in half, so they cut me open and removed that bone. There's no healing process for the bone or anything. Whenever I get my stitches out and my wound heals, it's up to me and how I feel. Get some movement back in my hand and I'll be ready to go."

nick-markakis-walking-gray.jpgMarkakis, who underwent surgery in January to repair a torn abdominal muscle, said his goal is to return to the Orioles' lineup for the long homestand that runs from June 22-July 1.

"I definitely want to be back as quick as possible," he said. "This injury's a little disappointing because I know what I had to do in spring training and the beginning of the season all the way up to now to kind of get my strength and get my feet back under me. But the good thing is, I'll still be able to run and I'll be able to lift my legs and I'll still be able to throw. I'll be able to do everything except swing.

"It's not the worst thing in the world. I'll get through it and I'll get through it as quick as possible."

Asked if the club's projection of three to four weeks is realistic, Markakis replied, "I don't know. It's hard to tell. I'd like to be back sooner. It's just a waiting game on the wound and getting the stitches out. I go back to the doctor on Monday and he'll take off all this gauze and put me in a regular bandage. It's going to be as long as it takes to get these stitches out and pick up a bat again and get in the swing of things.

"I have all the feeling in my hand. It's just a matter of getting all the swelling out of there and the wound healing and being able to get the range of motion back in my hand.

"There's several different injuries you can have to a hamate and on my hamate bone, they call it the hook of the hamate bone. I don't necessarily know if you need that bone. Obviously you don't because they took it out. There was no structural damage to the rest of my hamate bone, so there's no healing process in there. When the doc went in there, he said everything looks great in there and no other injuries. It's just a matter of healing up and getting these stitches out."

Markakis had no idea that he fractured a bone on the slide. He assumed that, perhaps, he sustained a bruise in the wrist.

"I didn't feel any pain, so I continued to play and was able to take full swings and that one swing got me," he said.

"Just a little discomfort, not much. Didn't limit me in my swing or anything. In (batting practice), everything felt good leading up to the games. Just kind of similar to the same thing I had last year. Injured it, didn't really think anything of it, kept playing and playing and eventually the final straw came out."

This is Markakis' first trip to the disabled list. He avoided it after the January surgery.

"It sucks, but it is what it is," he said. "You can't prevent it. You just have to deal with it now and get through it. You want to be out there every day, but sometimes you're sidetracked by injuries and I've got one right now and we just have to get through it.

"It's frustrating given the timing of it. I think it's more disappointment, with all I've been through in the offseason trying to get myself back in the opening day lineup, and for this to happen. I'd say it's more disappointing. But you look around this clubhouse, we have a great group of guys, we have a lot of firepower in that lineup, so I think they'll be all right for a couple weeks without me.

"The guys filling in are going to do their jobs and I'll be here to support them. I'll be watching them. I'm still part of this, and we'll take it from there."

Down on the farm, outfielder LJ Hoes was promoted from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk.

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