October 09, 2011
More bad news for the Detroit Tigers on Sunday as their lineup and outfield depth have taken another massive hit.
Already down outfielder Delmon Young(notes), who played the role of unlikely hero in their dramatic ALDS victory over the New York Yankees, Detroit will also have to carry on without right fielder Magglio Ordoñez for the remainder of the playoffs after his balky right ankle flared up in their ALCS Game 1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Ordoñez underwent surgery to repair a fracture to that same ankle in August, and has been playing through a lot of discomfort throughout the season. During the second rain delay Saturday, it reached the point where Ordoñez felt like he couldn't continue, and manager Jim Leyland removed him for pinch-runner Don Kelly(notes) after play resumed.
Leyland was unable to give an explanation for what caused Ordoñez's painful setback, but the wet field conditions might have factored in.
Now, Leyland will be forced to turn to Kelly or Andy Dirks(notes) to take over in right field, with Ryan Raburn(notes) staying put in left for Young. To say it limits their offensive potential would be quite an understatement. Along with Young's heroics, Ordonez was a big part of Detroit's advancement past the Yankees as well, going 5 for 11 with a double and a run scored in the series.
"We're a real resilient team," Leyland said. "Do I like this? Obviously, no. Do I like losing Delmon? Obviously, no. But we're a tough team. We'll figure something out, and we'll get through this. We're like every other team in baseball that has these type of situations pop up. You get through it. We're not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. I can guarantee you that. We'll make due somehow."
You hate to see injuries playing such a prominent role at this stage of the season, but as GMs often say, it's not about the 25 men you bring with you out off spring training or even into October, it's about the depth of the organization. You need everybody involved to win a championship, and right now we're going to find out if the Tigers have enough depth to reach their ultimate goal.