Tigers' Ordonez to sit 'indefinitely'
Slumping right fielder given a rest by Leyland
ST. LOUIS -- Jim Leyland does not have an answer for what ails right fielder Magglio Ordonez, but the Tigers' manager is going to give the slumping slugger some time off to see if it helps.
"I couldn't be more puzzled by the situation," Leyland said before Thursday's game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. "He's such a professional, I feel bad for him right now because I know that he's fighting it. He's a very proud guy. He's a very team-oriented person. I really feel bad for him, but I have to do something. That's just the way it is."
Ordonez batted .363 with 28 home runs and 139 RBIs in 2007 and hit .317 with 21 homers and 103 RBIs in 2008.
So far this season, he's hitting .273 with two home runs and 22 RBIs. His last home run came on April 27 against the Yankees and he's got just three extra-base hits since May 25.
"I think he's just befuddled right now," Leyland said. "I don't think he can figure it out. I don't think I can figure it out. I don't think Mac [Lloyd McClendon] can figure it out. I don't think anybody can figure it out right now. If anybody can, I'm open for suggestions."
Ordonez was in the lineup batting fifth on Wednesday. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI, but left three runners stranded on base.
On Thursday, Leyland had Ryan Raburn batting fifth and playing right field.
The manager did caution prior to Thursday's game that Ordonez was not the reason for the lineup's recent struggles, though he understands why the right fielder would be the target of criticism.
"There's probably been too much emphasis put on the fact that Magglio hasn't been hitting because I think there are other spots that haven't hit," Leyland said. "It's just because of his track record it stands out a little bit more. But I'm going to get him away from it a little bit. I don't know. I think it's pretty obvious that when the player himself is puzzled, then I don't think it's unfair for the manager and coaches to be puzzled. I don't know. I can't answer it. I wish I could. I'm sure he wishes he could."
Leyland said he will keep Ordonez out of the lineup "indefinitely." When questioned about a possible timetable for the right fielder's return to the lineup, the manager wouldn't specify.
"'Til I decide that maybe it's time to stick him back in there and give him a shot," he said. "I've thought about it. I think I've tried everything. I've put him back to third after I moved him down to see if maybe that would be the thing to get him going. Then he was struggling so bad I moved him back behind. I've run out of options, other than this one. We'll try to get him away from it, whether it be a few days or whatever, I don't know."
Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.