March 26th, 2012

Magglio confirms he’s close to retiring

For those wondering if that twitter account from Magglio Ordonez is legit — the one where he tweeted in Spanish that he’s very close to retiring — it is. Ordonez confirmed via email tonight that the tweet came from.

So, indeed, Ordonez is close to retirement, which is sad to hear given what he meant to the Tigers over the years and the fact that ankle fractures ended his season early in back-to-back years. He said in an email that he’s “100 percent healthy” — this was around the time he was expected to be ready for baseball activities and to play in games — but as of now he’s a free agent without a team.

Ordonez turned 38 at the end of January. If he retires, he’ll finish with a .309 batting average over his 15-year Major League career to go with 294 home runs and 1236 RBIs. That won’t get him into the Hall of Fame here, but he ranks among the best hitters ever to come out of Venezuela. His .871 career OPS is better than Andres Galarraga, widely regarded as Venezuela’s greatest hitter. Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Gonzalez could change the group as the years continue.

Young leaves game with sore left knee

Just as the Tigers are hoping to have Miguel Cabrera back in the coming days, they might have a new injury to worry about. Delmon Young left Monday’s game against the Marlins after three innings with a sore left knee.

Young is listed as day-to-day, the team announced.

It’s the first known injury of the spring for Young, who got off to a fast start this spring and raised hopes that he could be in for a big season in his contract year before free agency. He entered the game leading the Grapefruit League with a .422 batting average, 39 total bases and 19 RBIs, while ranking third with five home runs.

Young has split his starts between left field and designated hitter in recent days, mainly so that the Tigers could get time for Andy Dirks and Clete Thomas in their competition for the final roster spot. He started in left field Monday but didn’t seem to strain his knee on any particular play.

Young’s fast start, plus the Tigers’ outfield depth, means Detroit shouldn’t be in a bind if he has to miss a few days down the stretch this spring.

Cabrera: “I’ll be ready. Don’t worry.”

Miguel Cabrera won’t be re-examined by doctors until Tuesday morning, which will determine whether he’s cleared to play in time for the season. The way he’s feeling, though, leaves very little doubt in his mind.

“I’ll be ready. Don’t worry,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said he has no pain in his right eye. The swelling is down, and he said his vision is fine. The only signs of lingering damage from the high-hopper he took a week ago are the stitches and the scar under his right eye.

Cabrera basically came to the ballpark Monday because he’s bored. He can’t do any physical activity until doctors. He also wanted to see some of his old friends on the Miami Marlins.

“I want to see Hanley,” he said. “I want to see Ozzie. I want to say hi to all my friends on the other side. I say hi to my friends here. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be here for practice.”

With all the free time on his hands, Cabrera said he has watched the replay of his fateful play several times. He wanted to see if there was anything he did incorrectly. He can’t find it.

“I was in good position. I was right there,” Cabrers said. “At the last second, I see the ball in my eyes.”

Monday: Tigers vs. Marlins

Yes, the Tigers sent out Audy Ciriaco this morning, but he’s sticking around for a day to start at third base while Brandon Inge serves as the designated hitter.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Brennan Boesch, RF
  3. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Ryan Raburn, 2B
  8. Brandon Inge, DH
  9. Audy Ciriaco, 3B

P: Rick Porcello

Tigers option Turner, send out five others

The Tigers optioned top prospect Jacob Turner to Triple-A Toledo Monday morning as part of a half-dozen roster cuts from camp, whittling their Spring Training roster to 32 players.

Outfielder Quentin Berry, who had made an impression with his speed and defense as a non-roster invite, was sent to minor-league camp along with right-hander Chris Bootcheck, first baseman Ryan Strieby and infielders Audy Ciriaco and Argenis Diaz.

Turner’s move came exactly five weeks after he came into camp as arguably the favorite to win the open spot in a stacked Tigers rotation. He made three starts for the Tigers last season and arguably had some of the best pure stuff of any arm here, including those on the roster. But he struggled with command in early games before being sidelined with tendinitis in his right shoulder.

If the early struggles didn’t doom his chances at the Opening Day roster, the time lost to injury did. Though he’s just about ready to pitch in games again, nearly two weeks after his last pitches against hitters, that return outing will have to take place across the street at the Tigertown minor-league complex.

Turner made three starts last August for the Mud Hens after making his Major League debut July 30 in Detroit. He could be the front man for what projects to be a formidable Hens rotation once the Tigers find their fifth starter and farm out the other candidates.

Berry joined the organization over the winter on a minor-league contract as a 27-year-old speedster with just four games above Double-A, but stuck around a lot longer than expected. By the end, he showed just enough to make

Manager Jim Leyland, for his part, strongly hinted that he would have felt comfortable with Berry as the last position player on his roster, saying there were four or five he felt comfortable with. But while that was a big boost for Berry, he wasn’t going to nudge through the battle between Andy Dirks and Clete Thomas, both of whom have spent time in the big leagues.

Berry batted 9-for-27 this spring. He hit a grand slam Friday against the Pirates, accounting for four of his seven RBIs on the spring. He also made two highlight catches Sunday against the Yankees, one of them an outstretched diving catch to send the game into extra innings.

Berry could end up joining the others at Triple-A Toledo, where Diaz and Strieby spent all of last season and Ciriaco spent 14 games. Bootcheck seems like a candidate to serve as the Hens closer, having filled the role at Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pirates organization three years ago.

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