Last year, Ordonez was limited to 52 games in his eighth season with the White Sox because of a knee injury that needed two operations. Chicago general manager Ken Williams said the team was rebuffed during the offseason when it wanted to evaluate Ordonez’s knee before declining to offer him arbitration.
Tigers doctors examined his medical records extensively, and signed him to a five-year contract worth $75 million after the former All-Star outfielder passed a physical.
“The White Sox know what they did to me,” Ordonez said not long after signing with Detroit. “I took a beating because they told people I was done, but I want to leave that alone.”
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen would lash back at Ordonez, telling him to move on.
Ordonez wasn’t able to do that as he wanted, forced to sit out nearly all of the first three months of the season with a hernia. However, he has hit three homers and driven in 13 runs in just 13 games since returning.
Even with Ordonez’s return to Chicago, this game won’t equal the animosity Detroit displayed on Sunday.
Guillen charged but was kept away from Hernandez after the dugouts and bullpens cleared. The scuffle appeared to be over with no punches thrown, but more pushing and shoving began. Tigers reliever Kyle Farnsworth picked up Royals reliever Jeremy Affeldt and slammed him to the ground.
“I think that’s absolutely wrong, throwing at somebody’s head,” said Detroit pitcher Jeremy Bonderman, who was ejected along with Guillen and Farnsworth. “If I hit somebody in the head, I expect someone to do the same thing. You stand up for your teammates because you can end a guy’s career throwing at somebody’s head.”
Now the Tigers face El Duque, making his first start since June 14 following his second stint of the season on the disabled list due to an inflammed pitching shoulder. The right-hander missed part of last season and all of 2003 after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.
After his last trip to the DL, from May 17 to June 2, Hernandez made just three starts as he was tagged for 14 runs and 21 hits in 16 2-3 innings. He had gotten off to a great start in his debut season with the White Sox, going 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA in his first seven outings.
He has a tough act to follow.
Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia and Mark Buehrle all pitched seven solid innings in the first three games of the White Sox’s series at Cleveland, allowing a total of three runs and 12 hits. In Sunday’s finale, Jon Garland became the AL’s first 14-game winner as he went six innings in a 4-0 victory.
“Contreras set the tone and everybody else followed suit,” Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “This was a big series for us, especially after the way we played against Oakland before the break.”
The White Sox, whose staff leads the AL with a 3.52 ERA, gave up 23 runs in being swept by the A’s in a three-game set to close the first half.