June 8th, 2011

Magglio taking a few more days in Toledo

Magglio Ordonez feels healthy, including with his right ankle, but he doesn’t feel his timing at the plate. So he’s going to take a few more days in Toledo on his rehab assignment.

The news was first reported by John Wagner of the Toledo Blade, who talked with Nevin Wednesday afternoon and checked it with Magglio. Ordonez confirmed the news a few minutes later.

It’s a change of plans from Tuesday, when he was hoping he could be back for the start of the Tigers homestand Thursday. But it’s also an admission he isn’t where he wants to be hittingwise when he gets back up, and that he doesn’t want to go through the same struggles he had earlier.

“He did come in today and admitted that he needs a few more days here,” Mud Hens Phil Nevin said. “He understands what it means to be a team guy, and he knows that he needs to be right when he goes up there. And he said to me after the game that he’s starting to feel better each time he goes to the plate, more comfortable.”

Ordonez played all nine innings for the Mud Hens Wednesday night, going 1-for-5 against the Gwinnett Braves. That leaves him at 7-for-26 through six games for the Hens. He’ll play nine innings again Thursday, Friday and Saturday before taking Sunday off.

“Monday, I’ll be in Detroit,” Ordonez said.

It isn’t a health setback that pushed him back, he said. It’s a timing issue.

“To see more pitches, get more at-bats,” Ordonez said. “If you see, I don’t even have 100 at-bats in the big leagues. I need to get more at-bats.”

His night at the plate Wednesday was a decent example why. He struck out swinging at a high fastball from G-Braves starter Todd Richmond in the third inning before facing harder stuff in the seventh from Anthony Varvaro. After fouling back a 95 mph fastball and taking a breaking ball that caught the strike zone, Ordonez went to a shorter swinging and got one of his quietly productive hits, an opposite-field line drive that moved Max St. Pierre to third base with two outs.

“The fact that with two strikes, he was protecting the plate on a 95 mph fastball out over the plate and he drove it to right field, that’s vintage Magglio when he’s going good,” Nevin said. “And that was nice to see. He feels good. That’s the important part.”

Ordonez pulled another fastball an inning later, a well-struck ground ball up the middle, but Julio Lugo played him that direction and ranged to his left for the out.

It’s the overall timing Ordonez is trying to find, he said, not just on a particular pitch. He said he has been making adjustments with each at-bat.

“It’s coming. It’s coming along,” Ordonez said of his timing after the game. “It’s going to take playing every day.”