Nick Markakis suffers broken thumb, out six weeks

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Horrible news here for the first-place Orioles.

According to Richard Justice of MLB.com, outfielder Nick Markakis has been diagnosed with a broken bone in the middle of his left thumb and is expected to be sidelined for the next six weeks.

Markakis suffered the injury in the sixth inning Saturday after getting struck with a CC Sabathia fastball that was clocked at 93 mph. He was immediately taken into the clubhouse for X-rays and was spotted hugging O’s manager Buck Showalter when he popped back into the dugout about 30 minutes later. The diagnosis was finally revealed after the game.

Markakis, 28, was batting .298/.363/.471 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI through 104 games played.

Baltimore will have to make a deep run into the postseason in order for him to return to action this year. Which is going to be difficult with Lew Ford and Nate McLouth serving as the starting corner outfielders.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.