Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, who has been sidelined since July 27 with a fractured wrist, will take live batting practice Wednesday in Philadelphia and could return to team as soon as Friday.
Markakis, 35, has missed 40 games after being placed on the injured list for the first time since 2012. The Braves have used a combination of Matt Joyce, Adam Duvall and Rafael Ortega, among others, in his place.
Markakis has remained present while being sidelined, supporting his teammates and providing the clubhouse leadership that draws so much praise. He’d long targeted a mid-September return, and if Wednesday goes well, that’ll likely be the case.
Markakis will face live pitching and go through a workout Wednesday. Manager Brian Snitker isn’t looking for anything specific; he trusts Markakis’ judgement.
“Just for him to tell me he’s ready,” Snitker said. “I don’t need to see anything really. We’ll give him a good workout, have him throw and run the bases. Have him slide just to see his hand. But I trust him. If he feels like he’s ready to go, I’ll plug him in.
“It’d be good to get him back. It’s the stability he brings. He feels good, feels great. People who are with him said if you didn’t know he was rehabbing anything, you wouldn’t know just by watching his workouts. Everything looks like a normal guy.”
Markakis is hitting .284 with a .358 on-base percentage. He has nine homers, 55 RBIs and 57 runs scored in 104 games. Before the injury, Markakis missed just 12 games across five seasons with the Braves.
His return would deepen the team’s lineup and further its depth. The Braves have Joyce, Ortega, Duvall, Charlie Culberson, Austin Riley and Johan Camargo all capable of handing the third outfield spot. Regular centerfielder Ender Inciarte is also on the IL with a hamstring strain.
“We still have one guy waiting in the wings who everybody loves on this team in Nick Markakis, who hopefully we can get him some simulated at-bats here and get him back in the lineup, because that makes our lineup that much deeper,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said.
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