Central rivals sharing holes in right field
Leyland hopes for bench to help vs. Twins with Ordonez out
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers and Twins both came in with holes in right field as the teams kicked off a big American League Central three-game series Monday.The Tigers placed Magglio Ordonez on the 15-day DL on Sunday with a pulled oblique. It was the same day the Twins placed Michael Cuddyer on the DL with a sprained knuckle in his left index finger. Injuries are a way of life in baseball, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland will be the last person to feel sorry for himself following the shelving of a key cog in his offense. "We lost Ordonez, they lost Cuddyer -- big deal," Leyland said. "That's the way it goes. We play on. You don't want to downplay the significance of the impact of an important player like a Magglio, but the fact of the matter is, we have a game tonight and Magglio isn't even here. I can't worry about it. That's just the way it is. It gives some other guys opportunities to play, and hopefully people step it up. Everybody has injuries." The Tigers called up outfielder Matt Joyce from Triple-A Toledo to replace Ordonez, while the Twins recalled Denard Span from Triple-A Rochester to fill in for Cuddyer. Span started for the Twins on Monday. Leyland said Joyce might start Tuesday. Cuddyer is batting .252 with three home runs and 35 RBIs this year, while Ordonez has batted .307 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. Leyland had previously indicated that he wanted Joyce to be more consistent hitting breaking balls. The Tigers skipper said he heard that Joyce has improved in that area, as well as hitting the changeup. When both Joyce and Clete Thomas are on the bench, Thomas will be the choice as a late-innings defensive replacement due to superior range, according to Leyland.
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.