Nick Markakis broke his hamate bone while swinging on Tuesday night. He'll be out for at least 3-4 weeks. Who is going to replace him? Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
If you listened to the quotes from Orioles writers over the last day, you might have thought things were OK with Nick Markakis, but if you listened to Gary Thorne on the MASN broadcast last night, you knew that Nick Markakis would be hitting the disabled list. The only question was the diagnosis. Today it came in, first breaking from Roch Kubatko on Twitter: Markakis has a broken hamate (wrist) bone that broke partially on a slide into second base 7-10 days ago and broke the rest of the way on that swing during Tuesday night's game.
He will be hitting the disabled list, though with an off-day today the Orioles do not have to make a decision on his replacement until tomorrow. Your guess is as good as mine as to who will replace him. The recently-optioned Xavier Avery could be re-summoned, although we saw some of how he probably needs more seasoning at the AAA level. The O's may not want to bring him back to the big leagues so quickly.
Lew Ford, who was signed not long ago to the Norfolk roster, is another option. The 35-year-old former Twins outfielder hasn't played in the big leagues since 2007. If Ford's contract is selected, we will hear all about how in twelve games with the Tides, he's batting .370/.404/.537.
There's also Jai Miller down in AAA, who has homered in the last three Tides games. That's a nice way to not tell you that his batting line on the season is .197/.311/.408. Miller has struck out a whopping 80 times in 45 games for Norfolk, including twice in six of the past seven games - and in the seventh game he struck out four times. Neither Ford nor Miller is currently on the 40-man roster, so if either of them were to be heading to the big leagues, a spot would have to be cleared.
Roch, who is not a doctor but has presumably stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at numerous points in his life, informed the Twitter world that a broken hamate bone is simply removed and that it has no function. Nick is expected to be out for 3-4 weeks. One potential lingering complication from the injury is that the power stroke does not always come back as fast as the player otherwise recovers. That would be an unfortunate development for Markakis, who's currently posting the highest power numbers (in terms of isolated power - ISO, or SLG-BA) of his career.
Speculating about lingering side effects is just that, speculating. For now, all that we know is that Markakis will have surgery to remove the broken hamate tomorrow and that he will be heading to the disabled list.