LAKELAND, Fla. -- Cancel the warning sirens over Magglio Ordonez's readiness for Opening Day. The veteran was back in the home clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday afternoon and returned to the Tigers' starting lineup in right field on Thursday night. He even threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the club's 75th Spring Training here in this Florida town.
To him, there's no question where he'll be in a week.
"I'll be ready for New York," Ordonez said.
2010 Spring Training - Detroit Tigers
News & Features
- Torii set to visit Minnesota as division rival
- Leyland, Tigers preparing for cold weather in Minnesota
- Tigers know not to take division-rival Twins lightly
- Quick hits
- Fister to start Tigers' home opener
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Ordonez went 1-for-4 with a double at the plate. He made a running catch down the right-field line early in the game before a miscommunication with second Will Rhymes on a blooper to shallow right.
Ordonez hadn't played since last Saturday with tightness in the IT band near his left hamstring. He had a previously scheduled day off Tuesday, something each player gets once in the spring. Manager Jim Leyland wondered aloud Tuesday whether Ordonez's situation might impact their decision on how many outfielders to take on the 25-man roster.
Ordonez has a pretty good idea how much time he'll need to be ready.
"I need maybe 15-20 at-bats," Ordonez said.
That equates to four or five games of regular play. The Tigers have six Spring Training games left, including Thursday's tilt against the Nationals, so that should mean pretty close to everyday play. Leyland said Ordonez will play from here on out.
Guillen say knee is OK, unsure when he'll return
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Carlos Guillen said Thursday his surgically repaired left knee is pain-free, said, but he isn't running just yet. Until Guillen is, there's no way of telling how soon into the season he could return.
Guillen had gotten to the running stage of his rehab process, circling the bases at less than full speed, when he started feeling discomfort in the back of the knee. That was nearly two weeks ago. He hopes to resume running next week and then begin the road back again. Guillen is hitting off a tee and hopes to take batting practice again shortly, but he isn't taking ground balls in the field.
With Opening Day a week away, Guillen has long since resigned himself to staying back at Tigertown for extended spring training once camp breaks. But knowing where he needs to be to help this team, Guillen's trying his best to avoid frustration.
"I don't feel frustration," Guillen said Thursday afternoon. "Whenever my body tells me I'm ready, I'm ready."
Whenever Guillen returns, he's expected to fit into the second-base mix somehow. He has a very high opinion for Will Rhymes, who will open the season as the starter at second.
"I like him. [He's a] good player," Guillen said. "I like the way he plays the game. He's probably five feet tall, but he plays like a man. He makes the routine play, turns the double plays. He's tough."
Avila ready for regular season to start
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alex Avila came to camp two weeks early to get to work with the Tigers' pitching staff. Avila picked up his offseason workout program to put himself in the best shape he could over the long haul of the season.
With a week to go before Opening Day, he's ready.
"Right now, I'm ready to go," Avila said Thursday afternoon. "I'm ready for the season. For me, right now, it's just [about] maintaining. ... I do like Spring Training. I like Spring Training a lot. But I'm ready."
Avila was behind the plate Thursday night and threw out one of two runners, nabbing Jayson Werth trying to steal second. He went 0-for-3 at the plate. He and Victor Martinez will likely continue to share starts the rest of camp in order to stay fresh. The Tigers are facing a left-hander on Opening Day in Yankees ace CC Sabathia, so it's entirely possible Martinez will be behind the plate for the opener.
Peralta working out kinks in batting mechanics
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jhonny Peralta isn't deeply concerned about his hitting statistics, but his .204 average with no RBIs entering Thursday was enough to get some attention. Peralta confirmed Thursday he has been working with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon on some mechanics with his swing.
"We're working together," Peralta said Thursday afternoon. "Today, we went to the cage and tried something different."
It wasn't vastly different, more just about positioning. Peralta feels comfortable with his footwork and balance, and he likes how he's staying back as he waits on breaking balls.
Peralta said part of the adjustment might simply involve looking for fastballs to hit, rather than simply focusing on breaking balls.
Numbers aside, Porcello confident about arsenal
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The numbers won't show it, and neither did several of the pitches the Nationals hit Thursday night. But Rick Porcello feels good about where he's at with his pitches.
"I'm pretty close," he said after five innings in Detroit's 5-2 loss to Washington. "I think everything feels pretty good right now, to be honest. I think the biggest thing is just making sure I get that ball down. I think there were too many times tonight, and over the course of the spring, I've gone through stretches of pitches where I've been up at the belt. And you can't take a batter or an inning off. You have to be down the entire time."
That was part of Porcello's downfall Thursday. His home run pitches, though, didn't fall into that category. Jayson Werth hit a first-pitch changeup, something Porcello would rarely throw in that situation during a regular-season game. Two batters later, Michael Morse jumped on a fastball and pulled it for his seventh homer of the spring.
But Porcello also gave up six other hits, yielding two runs beyond the homers, battling command on his offspeed stuff.
"Up here, you pay for bad pitches," manager Jim Leyland said.
Porcello will start the Tigers' Grapefruit League finale against the Yankees next Tuesday. He wants to spend that outing focused on keeping all his pitches low before he goes into the regular season and a date with the Orioles on April 4.
Prospect Casey Crosby made a strong impression about his return to health in his start for Double-A Erie on Thursday afternoon on the back fields at Tigertown. Crosby, once a top prospect in the system before injuries stunted his progress, approached the mid-90s according to one scout. ... Detroit will carry a second bullpen catcher this season. In years past, its had only one, with the backup catcher helping catch relievers warming up in the bullpen. Now that the second catcher, Victor Martinez, is also the regular designated hitter, the club needs two catchers available in the bullpen. ... The entire Tigers positional roster will be traveling to the remaining four Spring Training road games.