Markakis has no intention of being out long

Markakis has no intention of being out long

Markakis has no intention of being out long
ST. PETERSBURG -- Right fielder Nick Markakis was in the visitor's clubhouse at Tropicana Field on Friday afternoon sporting a sling and joking -- just hours after undergoing surgery to remove part of the hamate bone from his right wrist -- that he was going to serve as a pinch-runner.

Officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, the 28-year-old Markakis is in entirely foreign territory. He's on the DL for the first time in his career, and if he has any say in the matter, his recovery will be as quick as possible.

The timetable for a return from this injury is varied, taking anywhere from three to six weeks and sometimes more. Markakis, who underwent abdominal surgery in the offseason and worked tirelessly to be ready for Opening Day, said the hamate bone wasn't completely broken and that he's targeting a return for the homestand that begins on June 22.

"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," Markakis said. "There was no structural damage to the rest of my hamate bone, so there's no healing process in there. When [Dr. Brian Schofield] went in there, he said everything looks great [and that there are] no other injuries. It's just a matter of healing up and getting these stitches off."

Markakis plans on attending the entire series against the Rays before a followup visit with Schofield to remove the bandaging on Monday. And although he is in relatively good spirits, the timing of the injury is particularly difficult to swallow.

"I think it's more disappointment," said Markakis, whose roster spot was taken by infielder/outfielder Bill Hall. "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 will be all right for a couple of weeks without me, and the guys filling in are going to do their job, and I'll be here to support them, I'll be watching them. I'm still part of this, and we will take it from there."

A hard-nosed player who prides himself on being in the lineup, Markakis sustained the injury about a few weeks ago on a slide and continued to play. It wasn't until Tuesday night's final at-bat in Toronto that he felt something tweak. Markakis, who has played in at least 160 games the last three seasons, then sat out his first game of 2012 on Wednesday before being examined Thursday.

"I was able to take 100 percent swings, and I think I fractured it on that slide, and the past of couple of weeks, I was playing with it, and that one swing just kind of finished it off," he said. "[When I] get some movement back in my hand, I'll be ready to go."

"[The] doctor says four [weeks], Nick says two," manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis' return. "If I'm a betting man, somewhere in between. Now it's just how the wound heals. [The] challenge for us is keeping the bat out of his hand."