The general belief is that players recovering from hamate bone surgery -- as Nick Markakis is now -- have a short recovery time, but it can take a while for them to regain their full power at the plate.
But a glance at some notable cases shows players can return to form farily quickly from the wrist injury.
Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia played the final two months of the 2007 season (including the team's run to the World Series) with a cracked hamate bone in his left wrist. Pedroia hit .283 with 10 RBIs in 14 postseason games. Coming back from off-season surgery, he had an MVP season in 2008, batting a career-best .326 with 17 homers and 83 RBIs.
Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki missed nearly six weeks of action after breaking the hamate bone in his left wrist in June of 2010. He came back and had 18 home runs and 61 RBIs in 235 at-bats after the injury that season after totaling 9 homers and 34 RBIs in 235 at-bats before the injury.
San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval missed almost seven weeks after surgery to remove a fractured hamate bone from his right hand last season. He had 18 home runs and 56 RBIs in 343 at-bats after returning. One year to the day of his surgery, Sandoval suffered the same injury in his left wrist on May 2 of this season.
The good news for Sandoval is that the surgery entails removing the hamate bone, so he now doesn't have one in either wrist to worry about.
The good news for Markakis and Orioles fans is that medical advances have seemingly made the procedure easier to come back than in the past. Jose Canseco missed nearly four months with the injury back in 1989. (We won't speculate on what methods of recovery Jose used.)
Here's a more extensive list of notable hamate bone injuries in baseball, including recovery times, compiled by one of our fine summer interns, Connor Letourneau:
Willy Aybar, Tamba Bay Rays DH; missed nearly three weeks (2006)
Jose Canseco, missed nearly four months (1989)
Ken Griffey, Jr., missed nearly four weeks (1996)
Tony Gwynn, Jr., Los Angeles Dodgers OF; missed nearly four weeks (2010)
Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox 2B; played final two months of season with a cracked hamate bone in his left wrist (2007)
Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants 3B; missed nearly seven weeks in 2011 and suffered same injury in other wrist this year
Jim Thome, played final three games of the AL Division series with a broken hamate bone in his right hand (1996)
Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies SS; missed nearly six weeks of action (2010)