ST. PETERSBURG -- Nick Markakis will not have the pins removed from his left thumb for at least another week, putting the Orioles outfielder's return at a minimum of three weeks and contingent on the club getting deep into the postseason.
"Probably get them out next Tuesday or Monday," said Markakis, who suffered the break on Yankees ace CC Sabathia's fastball on Sept. 8. "It was crushed too bad in there, had a lot of pieces here and there. Probably on a clean break, they could come out today. My situation is a little different, so they want to keep it in for another week."
Once the pins are removed, Markakis' thumb will be put in a splint for another two weeks, and manager Buck Showalter said the emphasis is on making sure the injury heals for the long term.
Asked if he sensed any disappointment by Markakis, Showalter said, "He doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve. We've talked a little bit. I think from the get-go [head athletic trainer Richie Bancells] and the doctors have been very forthright about his [recovery].
"We know three weeks from now what's happening in baseball. So, keep plugging to get to that goal. Everybody would love that individually for Nick and for the organization. But a lot of bridges to cross, starting tonight."
The Orioles clinched a playoff berth on Sunday night and a deep postseason run could open the door for Markakis -- the longest-tenured Oriole behind Brian Roberts -- to make a return. The club's Opening Day right fielder, Markakis is hitting .298/.363/.471 in 104 games.