BALTIMORE (AP) — Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis will be out for at least six weeks with a broken left thumb, the result of being hit by a pitch from New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia.

Markakis left Saturday night’s 5-4 win over the Yankees in the fifth inning immediately after being struck by the pitch. The injury will keep him out of the remainder of the regular season and well into October — should Baltimore qualify for its first postseason appearance since 1997.

“It’s definitely broken. He’s out. We’re hoping he can get back in time to play deep in the playoffs for us,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It breaks my heart personally, and for him. I know how much this time of the season means to him. We’ll go forward from there.”

Markakis can only hope for the best.

“It’s just a matter of healing,” he said. “I’ll be in a brace for a while and hopefully it will heal up quicker than I think it will.”

Markakis has spent his entire seven-year career waiting to be part of a playoff run, and now he’s got to watch the end of this one in the dugout.

“The timing definitely (stinks) but we got a great group of guys,” he said. “They are going to battle through this. I’ll be here for them and I’ll be supporting them. I’ll be with them and I’ll be rooting for them.”

Markakis is batting .298 and flourishing since moving to the top of the order. He’s the third leadoff hitter the Orioles have lost this season; Brian Roberts and Nolan Reimold have both undergone season-ending surgery.

His loss could not have come at a worse time for the Orioles, who are tied atop the AL East with the Yankees.

“It’s one of those things that, we’ve been a sum of the parts team all year and we certainly lost a big part tonight,” Showalter said. “But we’ll kind of reorganize or reassess where we are and see what we can do. If I know this club and this group, someone will step forward.”

The top options in right field appear to be Nate McLouth and Lew Ford, and Showalter can only to find yet another player effective at the leadoff spot.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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