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 Tigers will platoon Magglio Ordonez

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PostSubject: Tigers will platoon Magglio Ordonez   Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:34 pm



Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced that struggling slugger Magglio
Ordonez (above) will have to split time in right field with Clete
Thomas.

Tigers will platoon Magglio Ordonez
by Steve Kornacki
Wednesday July 08, 2009, 5:11 PM


DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided today to platoon Magglio Ordonez and left-handed hitting Clete Thomas at the right field position. He would not attach any length of time to the move.

"I'm going to platoon him," Leyland said, after briefly meeting with Ordonez in his office. "And we'll see how it turns out...I'm trying to see if we can get a combination to spark more offense."

Ordonez, the right-handed slugger who won the batting title at .363 in 2007 and hit .317 last year, is mired in the worst slump of his career. He is hitting .260 with four home runs and 28 RBIs half-way through the season.

"I don't make out the lineup," Ordonez said. "If I'm hitting home runs and RBIs, I'd be mad. But what can I do? I've got to produce first."

Thomas, who was up with the Tigers earlier this season, was sent to Toledo to cut down on his swing and make more consistent contact. He was recalled for today's game.

He batted .291 with one homer and 17 RBIs for the Mud Hen, and was hitting .357 over his last 21 games.

Thomas is batting fifth tonight against Kansas City right-hander Zack Greinke, and Leyland said Ordonez will start Friday night against Cleveland left-hander Cliff Lee.
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers will platoon Magglio Ordonez   Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:57 pm

Platoon plan for Ordonez, Thomas
Tigers looking for an offensive spark from recent callup

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

07/08/09 6:15 PM ET

DETROIT -- Magglio Ordonez isn't being benched, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, but Clete Thomas' return to Detroit means he's being platooned.

Thomas, recalled from Triple-A Toledo after Tuesday's game, returned to Comerica Park on Wednesday to find his name back in the starting lineup against Royals starter Zack Greinke. Thomas batted fifth and started in right field, while Ordonez was out of the lineup.

Leyland indicated it will be a straight lefty-righty platoon.

"I'm going to try to play Thomas against right-handed pitching," Leyland said, "and Magglio against left-handed pitching. I don't know how it's going to play out, but that's what I'm going to do, see how it comes out."

Leyland called Ordonez into his office soon after he arrived in the Tigers clubhouse Wednesday afternoon to give him the news before posting the lineup and making it public. It was a quick meeting, but Ordonez seemed to take it in stride.

"If I was hitting home runs and RBIs, I'd be mad," Ordonez said. "But what can I do?"

It's the latest move by the Tigers to try to give their offense a spark, either with or without Ordonez. Though Ordonez had some encouraging at-bats at Minnesota over the weekend, including a three-run home run and a double last Saturday off Francisco Liriano, he's 1-for-10 since then, including 0-for-6 in the first two games of this series against Kansas City. He's 5-for-35 for his career off Greinke, though Thomas has the exactly same average at 1-for-7.

The 35-year-old Ordonez, an American League batting champion two years ago, entered Wednesday batting .260 with four home runs and 28 RBIs. He has shared the frustration of many and has taken a lot of extra batting practice with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, but nothing has produced consistent results.

Leyland said Ordonez will be back in the lineup Friday night against Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.

"I would definitely call it a platoon," Leyland said. "I would not call it benched."

Leyland did not say how long the platoon would last, and Ordonez wouldn't speculate.

"I have to produce first," Ordonez said.

Thomas played right field for an extended stretch earlier this season after being called up from Toledo in early May. With both Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames on the disabled list at that point, the Tigers used Ordonez as the designated hitter, Thomas in right and a combination of Ryan Raburn and Josh Anderson in left.

Thomas went on a tear in May, going 14-for-38 (.368) over his first nine games with three doubles, five RBIs and seven runs scored. He had a two-homer game May 30 at Baltimore before falling into a June swoon, going 3-for-29.

The Tigers optioned the 24-year-old back to Toledo on June 11 to have him work on shortening his long swing. He batted .349 (30-for-86) with the Mud Hens since then, but his progress will best be measured by how he fares against Major League pitching. He had 10 doubles in that stretch, but no home runs.

Leyland went so far as to call him a top prospect.

"He has a chance to be a complete player," Leyland said. "Now is he ready for that? I don't know just yet."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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