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Markakis on hand to lend support to teammates

Injured right fielder: 'It's tough to be away from the guys'
@cdenicola13
August 9, 2019

MIAMI -- Though Nick Markakis can't contribute on the field anytime soon, the Braves are happy for his presence this weekend at Marlins Park. Markakis, who was sporting a camo cast to protect his broken left wrist on Friday afternoon, has been on the injured list since July 27 after

MIAMI -- Though Nick Markakis can't contribute on the field anytime soon, the Braves are happy for his presence this weekend at Marlins Park.

Markakis, who was sporting a camo cast to protect his broken left wrist on Friday afternoon, has been on the injured list since July 27 after being hit by a pitch from Phillies left-hander Cole Irvin. The timetable calls for six to eight weeks.

"The goal would be awesome to be mid-September," said Markakis, when given that timeframe from a reporter. "It could be sooner, it could be later. It's hard to tell. It's all about how I heal up. All I can really say is we're on top of it and we're trying to heal up as quick as I can. Like I said, it's a bone issue. My body's going to take care of itself; it's just a matter of how quick."

In the meantime, Markakis is planning to make as many road trips as he can to be around the National League East-leading Braves during the stretch run. He couldn't travel to Minneapolis earlier this week because of a doctor's appointment.

The 35-year-old outfielder, who will be a free agent at season's end, has been spotted in the dugout and even in the bullpen watching games since the injury.

Markakis has been able to work out to stay in shape, and he has been taking vitamins and calcium to speed up the process. But the lefty acknowledged the difficulty of performing everyday tasks like eating or dressing with his broken wrist. In the past, the 14-year veteran has had to deal with a broken left thumb and right hamate bone.

"It's tough to be away from the guys," said Markakis, who averaged 159 games a year for the Braves from 2015-18. "It's tough to watch baseball on TV when that's all you've done your whole life. I'd rather be at the games supporting them here. There's not much else I can do but support right now. Any way I can help out and be here for the guys -- these guys are my teammates -- we're here for each other. I like to travel as much as I can."

In Markakis' absence, Ronald Acuña Jr. has taken over right-field duties, with Adam Duvall in left and Ender Inciarte in center. Acuna has one assist and one Defensive Run Saved in 12 games (11 starts) in right.

"I really like him there," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Acuna. "I just watch him out there playing, and that looks like the spot where he needs to be. We take advantage of his skill set better there. He's done a really good job in center field, but that arm really plays in right field. He's confident in it. It's a weapon. Strong and accurate. Very accurate."

Letting Gohara go
During Thursday's media scrum, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed a variety of topics, including the decision to release lefty Luiz Gohara last Friday.

Gohara, a former top prospect who had trouble staying healthy, last pitched in the Majors on July 8, 2018. Acquired in '17 as part of the Shae Simmons and Mallex Smith trade with the Mariners, Gohara posted a 5.33 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 14 career Major League games (six starts). He hadn't pitched at any level in '19.

"We were stuck on the [40-man roster] and obviously, [he has] tremendous talent," Anthopoulos said. "We just got to the point where we needed to make a decision. It's unfortunate with injuries and so on and getting him going, but obviously, we ran that play out as long as we could. We just ran out of room."

Worth noting
The Braves recalled right-hander Patrick Weigel from Triple-A Gwinnett and optioned righty Jeremy Walker, who worked 3 1/3 relief innings to save the bullpen in Thursday's 9-2 loss to the Marlins.

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.