June 7th, 2011

Magglio hopes to rejoin Tigers Thursday

Magglio Ordonez said Tuesday afternoon that unless something changes for the worse, he hopes to return to action for the Tigers when they return home Thursday.

Ordonez, who has been on the 15-day disabled list for the past four weeks with weakness in his right ankle, has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo since last Friday. Originally, the Tigers left open the possibility that he could return for this week’s series at Texas. But while Ordonez said Tuesday his ankle feels good, he wants to feel right at the plate when he comes back up.

“I think I’m driving the ball really good,” Ordonez said. “Every time that I hit it, I’m hitting the ball with authority. But I’ve got to get the timing, see a lot of pitches.”

He didn’t feel right when he began the season, and it resulted in a slow start at the plate. Now, he said, he’s able to push off the ankle and get a lot of lower body strength in his swing. It’s not only a stronger swing, but a quicker one in his opinion.

“More drive and quick,” Ordonez said. “Because the power’s always going to be there. The quickness is a process. That’s why I was hitting so many ground balls, because everything was upper body, no drive.”

Ordonez played nine innings in right field on Tuesday, going 1-for-4 at the plate with a hard-hit ground ball through the left side in the opening inning. He grounded out to third, struck out on a called third strike around the outside corner and popped out to second. The numbers put him at 6-for-21 on his rehab assignment. He said after the game that his swing felt good.

Ordonez also made caught two fly balls in right and moved around well without any signs of difficulty.

“I didn’t see any health problems, and that’s why he’s here,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “He’s taking his swings. He’s getting his cuts in. We’re not looking for results. It’s about the swings, how he feels.”

Ordonez is scheduled to play nine innings in right field again Wednesday. The Tigers haven’t officially announced anything past that, but manager Jim Leyland has said more than once they’re going to rely on Ordonez for the word on when he feels ready.

Ordonez is hoping that’ll be Thursday.

“The ankle is fine,” he said. “I just need to play nine innings and get used to playing every day and go from there, see what happens.”