Sunday, June 21, 2009

Notes, quotes and comments

A war of words over the "indefinite" benching of Magglio Ordonez by the Detroit Tigers:

From Scott Boras, Ordonez' agent: "Give me the compelling reasons for benching Magglio. You bench Magglio, and you're gonna have a problem — a real problem justifying that to me."

From Jim Leyland, the Tigers' manager: "It is total bull-(beep) for Scott Boras to say I blind-sided Magglio. This is just another grand-stand move in the newspapers by Boras." And: "Scott Boras would be better off if he left this between me and Magglio."

Part of what's at stake here: Ordonez is some 215 plate appearances (or 67 starts) shy of triggering an automatic extension of his contract at $18 million for next season.

Considering the dull market for old corner outfielders last winter, Mags and Boras don't want to hit the free agency market this offseason. Considering that their attendance is down about 10,000 fans per game, the Tigers don't want to see that extension kick in.

Also at stake: The Tigers (leading the Twins by 3 games at this writing) want and need more than a .343 slugging percentage from their right fielder.

* New Ulm native Jamie Hoffmann was sent back to Triple A last week by the Dodgers. He had a few good moments, but his major league stay figured to end once their injured or suspended outfielders started to return, and his .182 batting average didn't compel Joe Torre and Co. to find a spot for him.

He'll get another shot someday.

* The results from last week's poll: 20 respondents, of whom one (5 percent) said Joe Mauer would finish the season hitting between .300 and .330; four (20 percent) said .331-.350; nine (45 percent) said .351 to .375; two (10 percent) said .376-.399; and four (20 percent) and .400 or better.

The new poll might make more sense after Monday's print column comes out.

* The Twins' decision to waive Craig Breslow and go with Sean Henn as the LOOGY looked OK for a while, but it has taken a sudden turn for the worse.

In his last two outings (Wednesday and Saturday) Henn has faced seven hitters, five of who reached base and two of whom homered. Five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning, and Henn's ERA is now an unsightly 7.36, up from 3.48 coming into the home stand.

Breslow, meanwhile, has had an ERA of 2.31 since joining Oakland.

Coming in Monday's print column: Some possible bullpen trade targets for the Twins.

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