SEATTLE -- Omir Santos said he got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep before traveling cross-country to meet the Tigers in the Pacific Northwest. He gladly made that trip to get back to the Majors for the first time in two years.
Santos had to question whether it was going to happen for him when a broken big toe on his left foot ended his Spring Training just as games were beginning. But by working as much as he could while he was out, then rehabbing as hard as he could, Santos got back into action last week. Thus, he set himself up to get back into the big leagues if somebody got hurt, which was the reason the Tigers signed him in the first place.
He couldn't stand in the batting cage and take swings while his toe was healing, but Santos could sit on a stool and work on his swing.
"I tried to do everything I could," Santos said. "I kept hitting, sitting down."
By doing that, Santos set himself up for a quick transition once he could start hitting again, leaving his adjustment to getting his hands in coordination with his feet.
Though he couldn't catch Tigers pitchers, Santos spent as much time as he could in the bullpen, watching them warm up before their Spring Training outings.
The result is a return to the Major Leagues that might not have seemed realistic when he first got hurt. Most likely, it'll also mean some playing time while he's here. Manager Jim Leyland indicated that while Alex Avila will be the primary catcher, he probably wouldn't play every day.
Leyland prefers keeping Miggy in cleanup hole
SEATTLE -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland understands the debate over whether Miguel Cabrera is best served hitting third or fourth in the lineup. To him, it's a debate that goes on with many teams.
"There's two schools of thought," Leyland said.
To him, Cabrera is better off hitting fourth.
"I liked it a lot last year when [Austin] Jackson was getting close to 200 hits and Magglio was getting a bunch of hits and you had two guys on for Cabrera," Leyland said. "I mean, you can make a case for Cabrera hitting third if you want to. There's nothing wrong with that. That's not what I'm going to do. I just think when you have a hitter like Magglio, it makes a lot of sense."
Even without Ordonez, it makes sense for him. Leyland tweaked his order Tuesday and put Don Kelly in Ordonez's place. The thought, Leyland said, was to get some speed going in front of Cabrera in the order, possibly running into an extra hit or two.
Magglio not yet ready to play on daily basis
SEATTLE -- The logical assumption coming out of Victor Martinez's injury would be that Magglio Ordonez would get a lot more time at designated hitter. That assumption might not turn out to be true.
On Tuesday, it definitely wasn't true. Brennan Boesch was the designated hitter for the middle game of the three-game series against the Mariners, while Don Kelly started in right field.
For starters, manager Jim Leyland said, Ordonez is not yet at a point where he's going to be playing every day. He's still working his way back from the ankle problems that had him bouncing in and out of the lineup for the better part of three weeks. Leyland told Ordonez going into this series that he would play two out of the three games, and he's sticking to that plan.
The other issue is whether Ordonez's ankle is better served sitting idly between at-bats at DH or moving around in the field. Leyland is still trying to determine that answer.
"To be honest, I don't know what the best thing is for Magglio," Leyland said. "The best thing for Magglio might be to go out and move around."
The best information Leyland has from the team's medical staff is that Ordonez's ankle should soon improve. Warmer weather will make a difference as the spring finally takes over. Plus, Leyland said he was told, having a regular schedule of night games should make a difference, since Ordonez will have most of the day to loosen up the ankle and move around before the game.
Especially after Martinez ended up on the disabled list with an aggravation of a groin injury, Leyland is likely to be wary of pushing Ordonez too far.
"When Magglio is right, he'll be in the lineup," Leyland said. "You can take that to the bank. It's just a matter of how much I can push it and when you start pushing it."
Or as Leyland later said, "What I want to do is break Magglio in during the cold stretch and get him peaking."
Raburn shrugs off roof-grazing popup
SEATTLE -- Hey, Ryan Raburn could be known for worse things than smacking the first ball to hit the Safeco Field roof.
"If I have to be in the record books for something ..." Raburn shrugged.
He wasn't entirely thrilled with his brush with history from Monday night's game, especially given the end result of a strikeout in a 1-for-5, three-strikeout game. Still, he was able to get a smile out of it.
When told that manager Jim Leyland said he had to have power to get it up there, an estimated 175 feet high, Raburn smiled.
"I squared it up," Raburn said. "Straight up."
After further review, that ball was dead as soon as it hit the truss that supports a portion of the roof. Though the original ground rules for Safeco Field stated that a ball hitting the roof would be an out if caught, an updated set of ground rules states that the ball is dead if he hits the roof in foul territory.