Leyland on Magglio: He’s got to hit

The Tigers and Jim Leyland are on board with Magglio Ordonez’s plan to rejoin the Tigers next Monday, though their roster move to keep an extra reliever looks in hindsight like they thought Ordonez might be coming back a little sooner. But Jim Leyland had some pretty interesting comments Thursday when asked about fitting Ordonez into a lineup that has its outfield bats suddenly heating up.

“If Magglio, obviously, is Magglio Ordonez, we’ll find a way to have him in the lineup, if he’s a productive hitter,” Leyland said Thursday.

Leyland cautioned he wasn’t trying to lay down any ultimatums or anything. But long story short, he was making the point that the early-season form for Ordonez isn’t going to get it done.

“Magglio’s got to hit. That’s just the way it is,” Leyland said. “That’s what his forte is. That’s what we need him to do. He’s not going to steal bases. He’s not going to play defense as well as [Casper] Wells. So we need his bat, and that professional bat, I think, when it’s all said and done, will be very important for us.

“But I guess to simplify it, you put the best players out there, guys who give you the best chance to win. That’s pretty how much it is, and that’s what you’re supposed to do as manager. Magglio’s here to hit and be a real productive offensive hitter. That’s what he’s here for. So we’ll have to wait and see.”

Ordonez, no doubt, is well aware of needing to hit better than he did early in the season. If he wasn’t, he probably wouldn’t be taking a few extra days on rehab in Toledo to try to get his timing down at the plate.

Unless something totally unexpected happens, the Tigers will keep all their current outfielders on the roster when Ordonez returns, instead getting rid of an extra reliever. Adam Wilk, who was called up as a fill-in for the Tigers bullpen when David Purcey went on paternity leave, is still here, even though Purcey returned from paternity leave Monday.

That leaves at least four outfielders for three spots, not counting Wells and his starts against left-handed pitchers. All of those other outfielders are youngsters, but all of them are going well right now.

“You don’t know for sure if these kids are going to keep it up, or are some of [the pitchers] going to catch up,” Leyland said. “You just have to play it [out]. But it’s kind of like the old saying: You kind of ride the hot horse.”

Leyland sounds prepared to do just that.

“There are only nine spots, but I’m going to put out the guys that give us the best chance to win, and it really doesn’t matter what the names are,” he said. “That’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s what I get paid to do. Hopefully, if Magglio comes up and is close what he has been as a productive offensive player, he’ll be a big lift for us before it’s all said and done, believe me. If he doesn’t hit, that’s a different story. That’s just the facts.”

12 Comments

It’s so bloody interesting watching JV pitch. This guy is our best player.
We are so fortunate to have him.

Raburn is not the answer. He is a stop gap measure at best.
I know the guy is capable of the long bomb but baseball is more than waiting around for the accident to happen.

I’d rather them give Worth an opportunity.

I know Santiago will never get a chance here to play regularly. I hope they trade him and he goes somewher where he will be apprieciated and allowed to show what he can do when given the chance.

if that is true , why he keep palying Raburn? No golden glove and batting under the Inge line? Why is not Worth playing?

The Inge Line!!!

I love that. Good on you jkl!!!!

One more thing:
The BIGGST hit of the day?

Daon Kell’ys single to drive in the run that put us ahead and the previous 2 batters neglected.

That also gave the opportunity to give Boesch his HR AB.

Thank you Don Kelly!!!!

Leland and his “fact” finding. That’s all we’ve been asking for…..putting out the best players to give us a chance to win. I hope Magglio finds his forte soon.

It’s a trifle difficult to not start thinkng about being a little excited.

Watching Justin Verlander pitch always gets me excited. And to think I missed seeing him pitch on the 29th because of rain.

Did anyone else hear a few boos after Rayburn’s last at-bat?

Didn’t get to see tonight’s game, just got home from work, but I saw the highlights. You know, Brennans’ swing doesn’t look much different now that he’s hitting as opposed to when he struggles. He always has that big uppercut. Right now he’s squaring it up pretty good.

Leyland said all the right things re Ordonez. Now he’ll need to make good on his statement. That’s about all there is to it right now.
.
Verlander is as dominant as any pitcher in the game. Kelly had a huge hit tonight. It was the turning point of the game. Alex would have had a couple of homers (again) if we’d been in any other ballpark. Hate to say it, but Jackson just seems to freeze up in those situations. You can’t take strike three there, ever. He had no trouble hitting a flyball later in the game. Raburn is going to get booed right out of town, after which we’ll have to find another #9 hitter to carry the team.
.
It’s been a nice little stretch and this season is shaping up like the previous ones.

I agree with Jim. Magg’s has got to hit. Period. Raburn, IMO – tries too freaking hard too often… just like Boesch did last year. Unless Polanco gets traded before the deadline, or Carlos comes back.. we’re stuck with Ryan. You should note how well Brennan has been swinging the bat. He listened to Cabby – breathe when you come to the plate. And, obviously we see the results.

*Worst roster move ever; letting Placido Polanco go back to the Phillies. Sorry, Mr. D – but the facts state the truth.

bring polanco back

Dirks – .245, Wells – .254, and Raburn – .203
Wells and Dirks are nice defensive outfielders and hopefully they will hit with consistency some day, but none of these guys can hold Magglio’s jock at the plate. If he is healthy, he will hit, and he will help the Tigers. How can anyone say that the above outfielders are going well at the moment with those batting averages. History will show that most young players hit well for awhile and then the pitching catches up to their weaknesses. Boesch has done a great job this year of making the adjustments he needed to make to be successful, but Dirks and Wells aren’t there yet. Raburn is just plain bad in the field and at the plate. He should go. This team needs a healthy Magglio to strengthen the offense down the stretch.

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