The Baltimore Orioles have dealt with injuries over the past few years unlike any other team in terms of sheer number (of injuries). The difference in 2012 was that they had the depth and the bravado to overcome them. Yesterday we got word that Nick Markakis‘ MRI had shown that he had a small herniated disc in his neck. Markakis has since flown back to Baltimore and is being examined at Johns Hopkins. According to the Orioles, the normal healing process for something along these lines is 7-14 days of rest. Markakis is expected to be able to play in about a week or so give (give or take).
The question is whether or not this is a harbinger of sorts in terms of the injury bug. We’ve seen what it’s doing to the New York Yankees, and to a lesser degree the Toronto Blue Jays (with third baseman Brett Lawrie being hurt). Let’s be frank; this is far from good news for the O’s in terms of Markakis being hurt. Granted the Orioles have gone so far as to say that he won’t miss any time in the regular season, however the last thing you want is guys establishing themselves as injury-prone this early. However on the other hand, you’d rather the injury bug bite now as opposed to after April 2nd.
This is where the depth in the organization comes in. In the last two years the Orioles have become very good at stockpiling talent. Last year Buck Showalter said they had the “next man up” mentality, and I presume that the same will hold true in 2013. In the mean time, the likes of Chris Dickerson, Trayvon Robinson, etc. are getting good reps in games during Spring Training. You never know what’s going to happen injury-wise once the season begins, and in fact training and conditioning might not even play a role in that (ie-Nick Markakis getting hit on the hand against New York last year, ending his season). So it pays to have guys stashed in the minors that can come up and are already familiar with the team, coaches, etc.
My personal opinion is that Markakis will resume activities in a week or so, start playing in games again, and be ready for Opening Day without any issue. However it’s something to watch as we progress through the rest of camp.