Broken ankle ends Ordonez's postseason
After losing Young, Tigers to discuss ALCS outfield options
ARLINGTON -- Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez is out for the remainder of the playoffs because of a broken right ankle, the team announced on Sunday, hours after Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Rangers Ballpark was postponed because of rain.
Earlier in the day, manager Jim Leyland announced the loss of Ordonez to an ankle injury. Later, the team issued a news release saying the ankle was broken.It's the same ankle Ordonez fractured midway through the 2010 season and forced him to miss the remainder of that season. He returned during this past Spring Training, but has been slow to recover this year. Already in the series, the Tigers are short outfielders. Delmon Young was kept off the ALCS roster because of a mild oblique strain suffered during his final at-bat in Detroit's Game 5 victory over the Yankees in its AL Division Series.
Leyland said he would caucus later with his coaches and Dave Dombrowski, the team's president and general manager, to determine a replacement for Ordonez.
On the current 25-man ALCS roster, lefty swingers Don Kelly and Andy Dirks are the likely lineup replacements for Ordonez. But the Tigers also are allowed to replace him on the roster; by rule, Ordonez would then be ineligible for the World Series should the Tigers advance, but that's more of a technicality.
The Tigers don't have an obvious roster replacement. Other than Young, the only outfielders on the 40-man roster are Clete Thomas, who hasn't played in the big leagues since 2009, and Brennan Boesch, who had thumb surgery in early September.In Game 1, Leyland pinch-ran for Ordonez after the second rain delay in the fifth inning of Saturday night's 3-2 loss to Texas, which took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The bases were loaded and Ordonez was on first. "Magglio Ordonez will be out for the series with the ankle injury -- the same ankle that he had the problem with," Leyland said. "He will be done for the season. That's why he was taken out of the game last night. We didn't have all the facts and details, but we've had some medical work done this morning."
Before the team announced the ankle was broken, Ordonez said it was broken in an e-mail to MLB.com's Jason Beck. He reportedly told Venezuelan journalist Alfredo Villasmil that he turned his ankle during pregame batting practice on Saturday and tried to play through it, only to realize he couldn't go.Leyland said that Ordonez complained about his ankle during Saturday's second rain delay, which lasted 69 minutes. The move to replace him on the bases went under the radar at the time. "That's correct. That's exactly why I pinch-ran for Magglio," said Leyland, who claimed he had no explanation for why the ankle again began bothering Ordonez. "He would not have come out of the game. My trainer [Kevin Rand] came in during the rain delay and said Magglio can't go. The ankle was killing him. So I pinch-ran Don Kelly for him." Ryan Raburn played left field, batted second in place of Young on Saturday night, and had a single and two walks. Now Leyland must find an apt replacement for Ordonez. "I saw him in the training room in between the rain delays," Raburn said. "As far as how bad it was, nobody really knew. We just knew he probably wasn't going to come back out and play. This is the first I heard he's going to be out for the series. That's unfortunate for us. He's a veteran presence in the lineup we'll definitely miss. We'll need other guys to step up like we have done all year." The Tigers have now played through one suspended game because of rain in the ALDS, two rain delays on Saturday night, Sunday's postponement and the loss of two of their top right-handed power hitters. Young hit three homers against the Yankees, becoming the first Tigers player in their history to do that in any playoff series. But Leyland said he isn't worried. "We're a real resilient team," Leyland said. "Do I like this? Obviously, no. Do I like losing Delmon? Obviously, no. But we're a tough team. We'll figure something out, and we'll get through this. We're like every other team in baseball that has these type of situations pop up. You get through it. We're not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. I can guarantee you that. We'll make due somehow."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. MLB.com reporter Jason Beck contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.