08/18/06 12:19 AM ET
Notes: Ordonez ends homer drought
Right fielder went 119 at-bats between long balls
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
"Felt good," he said. "I hadn't hit one in a month."
Actually, it was slightly longer. The solo shot was his first since hitting a two-run homer July 9 at Seattle. The 119 at-bats between homers was the longest drought of his career. Nine other Tigers had homered since Ordonez's last home run.
His slugging percentage had dropped from .511 to .467 in turn, even though his average had a smaller fall from .311 to .297. While he has been hitting respectably in August with a .291 average, he had just four extra-base hits for the month until the homer.
He's not sure why the difference is what it has been in terms of home runs. Asked if he still feels like he could be a 30-homer slugger, Ordonez said, "I don't see why not."
The power drought was one reason speculation started running about Ordonez starting to feel fatigued down the stretch. While he admitted playing a full season is something to get used to for a player who hasn't done it since 2003, he insists he's healthy.
"Sometimes I get tired," he said. "But I'm just going to play and try to do my best. It's not easy."
With that in mind, Ordonez said he plans to work with a personal trainer in the offseason on building strength.
As for his bout on the other end of David Ortiz's home run Wednesday, Ordonez confirmed what manager Jim Leyland suspected, that his arm was caught somewhere on the right-field fence at Fenway Park, preventing him from raising his glove to attempt a catch.
"My sleeve caught on something," he said. "I don't know what it was. My sleeve got stuck. That's why I couldn't [make a play]."
Polanco out 4-6 weeks: Further examination by doctors on Placido Polanco's left shoulder confirmed the original prognosis of a second- to third-degree separation. However, the timetable for a recovery looks better.
Manager Jim Leyland said after Thursday's game that Polanco is expected to miss four to six weeks before being able to play. That puts him on a track to potentially return for the final week or two of the regular season to either help in a pennant race or prepare for the playoffs.
"That would be wonderful," Leyland said, "but when it comes to those things, you never know."
Meanwhile, Omar Infante made his second straight start at second base. For now, it doesn't look like it's going to change.
Asked before the game about the chances of acquiring another second baseman, Leyland said, "Doesn't look like it."
"I'm sure Dave [Dombrowski] has been on the phone," he continued. "But at the same time, there has to be a match."
The technicalities of the waiver wire play a role. They're also not going to make a move simply to make a move, but if there's nobody available as a full-time second baseman, they could still pick up a utility infielder.
"The only way you do something is if you think it's an upgrade, either at second or utility player," Leyland said. "Either one."
Miller update: First-round draft pick Andrew Miller is tentatively scheduled to make his professional debut Saturday for Class A Lakeland. He continues to work his way into pitching shape, throwing at the Tigers' Spring Training facility.
The big left-hander from the University of North Carolina will pitch in a relief role to start his track toward joining the Tigers bullpen in September.
More telecasts: The Tigers announced three additions to their over-the-air broadcast schedule in September, two of them Sunday afternoon games -- the 17th against the Orioles and the 24th at Kansas City -- plus the next-to-last game of the regular season Sept. 30 versus the Royals. The adds bring Detroit's over-the-air schedule to 21 games on WMYD-TV 20 in Detroit.
Attendance update: The Tigers drew an announced attendance figure of 34,756 tickets sold for Thursday's series opener against the Rangers before looking at potential sellouts for the weekend. They're in position to possibly sell out each of their four games against the White Sox next week depending on ticket sales in the coming days.
Overall, the Tigers are on pace to approach or beat their single-season attendance record of 2,533,752 set in 2000, the year Comerica Park opened.
Coming up: The Tigers and Rangers continue their series with a Friday night matchup at Comerica Park. Zach Miner (7-3, 4.25) will start opposite Kevin Millwood (11-8, 4.73) in the 7:05 p.m. ET start.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.