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06/22/09 4:18 PM ET

Boras clarifies Ordonez, Leyland remarks

Agent says he was not questioning manager's decision

DETROIT -- Agent Scott Boras, whose remarks regarding the Tigers' decision to sit Magglio Ordonez sparked a strong rebuke from manager Jim Leyland, has tried to clarify his remarks.

In a phone interview with MLB.com early Monday morning, Boras said his remarks about Ordonez that were reported Friday were in response to questions about Ordonez's contract situation, not the decision to sit the former batting champion. Those answers, he said, were taken to suggest he was questioning Leyland's decision.

Boras added that he cited statistics to defend Ordonez in response to questions about his performance, not in response to Leyland's decision.

"The defending of Magglio Ordonez was [in response to] age questions," Boras said, "for performance questions in the short term."

Boras made a point to say he respects Leyland, who was managing in the Florida State League in the mid-1970s when Boras was an infielder for the St. Petersburg Cardinals.

"Jim Leyland knows how to manage players," Boras said. "This is not about managing players. ... I was not delivering a message to Jim Leyland. I would call Jim Leyland if I wanted to talk with him."

Both Boras and Leyland have tried to diffuse a story that flared up over the weekend, when Boras' remarks to the Detroit News suggested that he was questioning Leyland's decision to take Ordonez out of the starting lineup for what Leyland called an "indefinite" stretch.

The subplot of Ordonez's contract incentives -- he needs 215 plate appearances to vest his $15 million contract option for 2010 -- became a hot topic. Leyland denied any financial motivations behind his move, and suggested Boras should stay out of it.

"The reason I responded was I took that to almost question my integrity," Leyland said. "If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, but I'm not going to have someone question my integrity.

"It's over. The main thing is, this is not about Scott Boras and me. This is about Magglio Ordonez the player, Jim Leyland the manager, and the Detroit Tigers. I talked with Magglio yesterday, and Magglio's fine."

Leyland said Sunday that he was considering putting Ordonez back in the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Cubs, but he wanted time to think about whether he wanted to bring back Ordonez to face Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano.

If his return isn't Tuesday, it's almost assured to be Wednesday or Thursday. Given that, it appears Leyland's use of the term "indefinite" might've been a little strong, though Leyland said Sunday he didn't mean it to signify the long term.

Boras did defend Ordonez against the notion that he's struggling as a hitter. He's batting .273 with nine doubles, two home runs and 22 RBIs in 57 games. Ordonez is hitting .300 (18-for-60) with runners in scoring position, but just three of those hits have gone for extra bases. He's 8-for-18 with a runner on third and two outs, but 1-for-9 with one sacrifice fly with a runner on third and less than two outs.

"Magglio is not in a particular [overall] slump," Boras said. "He's in a power slump."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.