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ARLINGTON, Texas — Delmon Young’s big bat is back in play for the Detroit Tigers in the AL championship series.
Young was added to the roster before Game 2 at Texas on Monday and replaced Magglio Ordonez, another ailing outfielder who is out for the season after he re-fractured his right ankle. Manager Jim Leyland listed Young in his customary No. 3 spot in the batting order and back in left field.
The Tigers had initially left Young off their ALCS roster because of what was then described as a left oblique injury that he reaggravated in the AL division series clincher Thursday night. Further tests showed that might not be the real issue.
“As it turns out, it’s better for medical people. It’s not really the oblique oblique, it’s in here more,” Leyland said, still pointing to the left side of his body. “It’s one they didn’t think was real serious to start with, but they didn’t want to take any chances.”
Leyland said he had just spoken to Young, who was felt fine and was “swinging good.”
Ryan Raburn, who started in left field for Young in the ALCS opener, was in right field for Game 2 for Ordonez.
Leyland said Sunday, after Game 2 was postponed because of the threat of more rain, that Ordonez was done for the season.
Young hit .274 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 40 games for Detroit after being acquired from Minnesota in August. Over five games against the Yankees before coming out of the Game 5 clincher, he was 6 for 19 and the first player in Tigers franchise history with three homers in a single postseason series.
Before the series, Leyland said the decision to keep Young out was because he had never seen “an oblique all right in a day or two.”
The Tigers then didn’t want to risk hoping Young could maybe be ready for Game 4 or 5 in the ALCS, then have something happen that would cause them to take him off the roster and make him unavailable if the team makes the World Series. Plus, Young had stiffened up after batting practice Friday in Texas.
Everything changed when Ordonez got hurt and there was changed medical outlook for Young.
“He did not swing (Sunday). He was tested by the doctors. Did all other kind of workouts and exercised,” Leyland said. “We were going to wait. It was kind of going to be like the NFL kind of a game-time decision. But we’ve already made the decision. And he will play.”
Leyland said he still wasn’t sure how Ordonez re-fractured the ankle that was surgically repaired in July 2010. Ordonez was lifted for a pinch-runner when Game 1 resumed after two rain delays Saturday night.
“Magglio actually told me before, he said it felt a little bit different before the game. It felt like it wasn’t exactly right,” Leyland said. “He really didn’t think that much of it. ... He thought maybe it was because of the weather, it was raining and stuff.”