Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/31/12

He's the closest thing the Baltimore Orioles have had to an Iron Man since Cal Ripken Jr. retired.

Nick Markakis missed his first game of the season Wednesday and just his sixth in the past three-plus seasons with a right wrist injury.

Markakis was hurt on a swing in the ninth inning Tuesday, and he will be examined by a specialist Thursday. X-rays taken Wednesday were negative. Markakis said the wrist is swollen and considers himself day-to-day pending Thursday's examination.

He sat in the dugout Wednesday with his wrist wrapped in a white bandage, and he watched the Orioles fall 4-1 to cap a sweep by the Toronto Blue Jays.

With Markakis out, the Orioles not only had to find a replacement in right field, but also in a key spot in the batting order, No. 3, right in front of breakout star Adam Jones.

The first half of 2012 has tested Markakis' durability. He entered spring training slowly after undergoing offseason surgery on a torn abdominal muscle.

While he had some ups and downs -- his average is .256, well off his .293 career average -- Markakis remains on pace for about 25 home runs and 80 RBI.

Baltimore fans are clamoring for more from Markakis -- particularly as the No. 3 hitter. But what Markakis delivers is consistency, and when he's not in the lineup, the Orioles are a different club.

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