Nick Markakis, the Braves’ right-field stalwart, will be out until mid-September with a fractured wrist, the team announced Saturday. Markakis was pegged by a Cole Irvin fastball in the sixth inning of a 9-2 win in Philadelphia on Friday.
It’s a blow for the Braves, who have relied on Markakis’ consistent presence since 2015. He’s missed 12 games in that span, including none in the past two seasons. This will be his first stint on the injured list since 2012 and third in his career.
He flew to Atlanta on Saturday morning to be further evaluated. He won’t require surgery, but is expected to miss six to eight weeks, manager Brian Snitker said.
“It’s just a matter of time to let the bone heal,” he said. “I would say with a guy like that, if you give him an estimated time, he’d probably beat it back. But it is what it is. Just needs time to heal.”
Markakis hit .284 with nine homers, 55 RBIs and a .358 on-base percentage through 104 games. The Braves called up Adam Duvall, who recently set the Gwinnett home run record, to help in the outfield.
Still, it’s difficult to replace Markakis, according to team leader Freddie Freeman, who added: “He’s hit fifth for us all year, played Gold Glove defense, veteran guy. It’s tough to replace that. I don’t know if you can replace Nick. But someone’s going to have to come in and do the best job they can do. No one has to be Nick Markakis, we just need that person to be that person and help us win ballgames.”
It’s unclear if the latest circumstances will alter the team’s approach at the trade deadline. The Braves have focused on pitching, namely relievers, before losing two of their more relied-upon position players.
For now, Snitker anticipates using a combination of players in the outfield. Ronald Acuna and Ender Inciarte likely will spend the bulk of their time in right and center, respectively, while Duvall and Austin Riley handle left.
Gabriel Burns is a general assignment reporter and features writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After four years on the Braves beat, he's expanded his horizons and covers all sports. You'll find him writing about MLB, NFL, NBA, college football and other Atlanta-centric happenings.