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Leyland defends "benching" of Ordonez

Jun 20, 2009, 5:42 PM EDT

Following Magglio Ordonez’s “indefinite” benching on Thursday, it didn’t take long for his agent Scott Boras to chime in, insinuating that the move had more to do with his $18 million option for 2010 than his poor start:

“Great major league players have
periods where they don’t perform well. It’s befuddling to me, why
they’ve done this. The Tigers are treating Magglio Ordonez differently
than they have in the past. Coming off three consecutive years when he
played really well for them … this is unheard of.”

It would be one thing if Ordonez was performing somewhat close to the
same level of the past three seasons, but he’s batting an anemic
.272/.347/.343 with two homers and 22 RBI through his first 216
at-bats. He’s currently slugging at a lower rate than Coco Crisp and
teammate Placido Polanco. Once a hero of the 2006 ALCS, the 35-year-old hasn’t gone deep in 38 games.

Jim Leyland publicly defended the move on Saturday, responding to Boras by saying:

“This is about no other issue. This
is about Magglio Ordonez and trying to get him right so he can
contribute the way he feels good about himself, because, by his own
admission, he’s embarrassed.”

“I’m very respectful of Scott Boras,
but I’m not going to listen to his (nonsense). Scott Boras might be
better off if he lets Magglio and myself handle this instead of him.”

Ordonez’s struggles are a convenient excuse to bench him, no doubt, but
the best solution for all involved may just be going the “the Gary
Sheffield route” by cutting him loose.

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think.

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