Magglio Ordonez finally feels completely healthy, and opposing pitchers are starting to feel the pain.
The Tigers had acquired Ordonez in 2005 after a knee injury limited him to 52 games with the Chicago White Sox the previous year. A hernia held him to 82 games in his first season with Detroit, but Ordonez’s worth was easily apparent last season, hitting .298 with 24 homers and 104 RBIs while helping the Tigers (28-17) win the AL pennant for the first time since 1984.
Ordonez is off to a stellar start this year with 12 homers, 42 RBIs and a .345 batting average - statistics that compare more than favorably to a five-year stretch with the White Sox from 1999-2003 during which he averaged 32 homers and 118 RBIs while batting over .300.
He hit a pair of solo homers in Wednesday’s 8-7 victory that ended a season-high six-game winning streak for the Angels (28-19).
“I’m feeling good. I seeing the ball really well and being very patient with my pitches,” Ordonez said. “I’m using the whole field again and not just pulling the ball.”
Ordonez is 9-for-20 with three homers, five RBIs and nine runs in his last five games. But he is just 1-for-5 with three strikeouts lifetime against scheduled Angels starter Ervin Santana (3-5, 5.06 ERA).
Santana will try once again to end his season-long misery on the road, hoping to further the momentum of a solid home start Friday when he limited the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run over six innings of a 9-1 victory.
“If he brings that stuff he had tonight into a road ballpark,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official Web site, “he’s going to have success.
Santana is 0-4 with a 7.86 ERA in five road starts this year. He’s also allowed at least one homer in every road start, and nine overall in just 26 1-3 innings.
Santana’s lone outing at Comerica Park - and against the Tigers lifetime - resulted in a defeat when he gave up five runs and seven hits in four innings on Sept. 1.
The Tigers will activate Jeremy Bonderman (2-0, 4.20) from the 15-day disabled list and hand him the ball. He was placed on the DL on May 16 when a blister on his right middle finger failed to heal correctly.
“It looks like all systems are go,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland told the team’s official Web site on Tuesday after Bonderman had a bullpen session.
Bonderman will be making his first start since May 8, when he got the win despite allowing five runs in six innings against Seattle. He had failed to register a decision in his first five outings this season, and is 2-0 with a 4.88 ERA in four starts at home.
One outing in which he failed to receive a decision came April 24 when he was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits - both season highs - in Detroit’s 9-8, 10-inning defeat at Los Angeles. Bonderman is 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Angels.
Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera is hitting .426 (23-for-54) with 12 RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak. He is 6-for-18 with two doubles lifetime versus Bonderman.