Ordonez calls situation embarrassing, but not angry
While manager Jim Leyland is going out of his way to emphasize that Magglio Ordonez is not benched, and agent Scott Boras is arguing that Ordonez didn’t deserve to be taken out of the lineup, Ordonez is sounding surprisingly calm about the matter.
That doesn’t mean he’s taking it completely in stride.
“Yes, it’s embarrassing,” Ordonez said when asked how he’s feeling about not being in the lineup right now.
Ordonez talked with reporters Friday for the first time since manager Jim Leyland announced he was going to sit Ordonez indefinitely. Leyland talked again about his decision Friday when asked about it after the Tigers announced Leyland’s two-year contract extension.
“Magglio Ordonez is not benched,” Leyland said. “What I said was, and what I meant was, that I’m going to get him out of there indefinitely. And what I mean by that is, by Magglio’s own admission, and from what I’ve seen and the coaches have seen, we were kind of beating our head against the wall, all of us.
“I’ve tried [batting him in] the third spot. I’ve tried the fifth spot. I’ve tried the sixth spot. For whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to get him going yet, and that’s also by his own admission.”
Ordonez said he had no problem with the way Leyland has handled the decision. Leyland said he had three different conversations with Ordonez recently.
“We both try hard, the organization, everybody,” Ordonez said. “They don’t want me to do bad. I don’t want to do bad.”
Asked how he’s handling it himself, Ordonez said, “I’m handling it good. It’s something that I can’t control. I just prepare myself to be ready to play every day.
“I haven’t been hitting like I used to. But, like I said, I’m just going to come every day to the park ready to play. I don’t have control of the lineup. When he chooses me to play, I’ll be ready to play.”
Ordonez was asked about his hitting. He has had his share of singles as part of his .273 average, but with two home runs and nine doubles, his power has taken the greatest hit.
“Probably one of the reasons is I’m worrying about things that are out of my control,” Ordonez said. “And I probably forget what I do best is hit and play the game. If you see my history, in my career, I have good numbers. But I’ll be OK. I’ll be ready. I know how to hit. I know how to play the game. I’ve just run into a little bump, and I’ll be back.”
Ordonez’s agent, Scott Boras, came to his client’s defense earlier in the day.
“Take a look at what (Red Sox manager) Terry Francona is doing with David Ortiz,” Boras told the Detroit News. “And this man has nowhere near the numbers of Magglio Ordonez in recent seasons. And Ortiz is coming off a bad year from the year before (2008).
“A-Rod in the month of June hit .137 in 2006. Jeter, I believe, for two months hit under .200. They didn’t bench him.
“Give me the compelling reasons for benching Magglio. You bench Magglio, and you’re gonna have a problem — a real problem justifying that to me.”
Boras did not return a phone message left Friday by MLB.com.
Boras becomes involved in part because of Ordonez’s contract. His 2008 club option at $15 million automatically vests if he has 1,080 total plate appearances in 2008-09. He needs 215 more plate appearances this year to reach it.
Asked how much his contract situation weighs on his mind, Ordonez said, “It’s something that is out of my hands. It’s something that I don’t control.”