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Published: Thursday, 10/5/2006

Ordonez loves to hit in New York

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

NEW YORK - Magglio Ordonez's eyes light up every time he sets foot in Yankee Stadium or suits up against the Bronx Bombers.

Entering Game 2 of today's AL division series, the Detroit Tigers' slugger is hitting .309 in 69 career games against New York, with 45 runs, 18 homers, 14 doubles and 61 RBIs.

Ordonez also has a .308 average in 33 games at Yankee Stadium, with eight homers and 33 RBIs.

"I love Yankee Stadium, its one of my favorite parks," he said. "I just see the ball well."

Ordonez, despite belting 24 homers and a team-high 104 RBIs in the regular season, went 1-for-4 in Detroit's 8-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday in Game 1 of the ALDS.

He left three runners stranded on base, striking out to end the fifth with Sean Casey at second, and flying out to center to end the seventh with Placido Polanco at third and Casey at first.

Ordonez also was thrown out at third base in the second on what became a double steal attempt when Pudge Rodriguez failed to execute on a hit-and-run play.

BIG UNIT: Randy Johnson threw a bullpen session yesterday and Yankees manager Joe Torre said the left-hander is set to start Game 3 at Comerica Park tomorrow against Kenny Rogers.

Johnson has a herniated disc in his back that required him to get an epidural shot last Friday. He threw in the outfield grass Saturday and then had a bullpen session the next day.

Torre said he threw 30-35 pitches and "everything seemed fine. He's ready to go."

Johnson last pitched on Sept. 23. He gave up five runs and seven hits over six innings in an 8-0 loss at Tampa Bay.

The Big Unit was 17-11 with a career-high 5.00 ERA in 33 starts this season. His lower back stiffness began in September and increased throughout the month.

Johnson hasn't had much success in the division series, going 2-7 with a 4.59 ERA in 11 career starts. He is scheduled to face Rogers, who hasn't fared much better with an 0-1 record and a 7.04 ERA in four career division series games.

STARTING POINT: Tigers starters registered 75 wins this season while compiling a league-leading 3.84 ERA.

The 75 wins were Detroit's third-most since 1957, and its ERA was its lowest since 1998.

However, in their last six starts - all losses - Tigers starters are 0-4 with two no-decisions and an 11.03 ERA. They have allowed 48 hits, 29 runs and six homers.

FIRST TIMERS: Eighteen of the 25 players on Detroit's roster are participating in postseason play for the first time.

Those who have been in the playoffs before include Ordonez, Polanco, Todd Jones, Rodriguez, Rogers, Carlos Guillen and Neifi Perez.

P.A. POWER: Legendary Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard worked his 120th consecutive postseason game Tuesday night in Game 1.

Now in his 56th year behind the microphone, Sheppard has not missed a playoff game since announcing his first World Series on Oct. 4, 1951. That Fall Classic was Mickey Mantle's first and Joe DiMaggio's last.

Sheppard's postseason total includes 62 games in 22 World Series. He has called more than 4,500 baseball games overall.

Sheppard also served as the voice of the NFL's New York Giants from 1956 to 2005. He will turn 96 on Oct. 12.

Contact Blade columnist

Ron Musselman at:

mussel@theblade.com

or 419-724-6474.



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