Notes: Ordonez recovers well

Notes: Ordonez recovers well

DETROIT -- Magglio Ordonez looked better Friday and said he was feeling better, but that wasn't going to change his day off.

Ordonez is recovering from a viral infection that knocked him out of Wednesday's game against Kansas City with dizziness. He was able to eat and retain food Friday, and accompanied the team to the Detroit Economic Club's luncheon and Commissioner Bud Selig's speech. Later, he felt well enough to do some pregame work.

"He's going to do some things," manager Alan Trammell said. "It's going to be his call. I'll be watching. If he feels anything, we want to shut him down."

Trammell said there's still a "great chance" Ordonez will not play Saturday, and he can't say yet whether Ordonez will play at all this weekend, not before seeing how Ordonez feels on Saturday. However, there's no chance of a stint on the disabled list.

"I'll let him make the call," Trammell said, "but we want to be watching him."

Whenever he does return, though, he'll have to go about regaining his timing at the plate, something Trammell saw being off on Opening Day. Since Ordonez has actually been ill for close to three weeks now, he hasn't had a healthy cut in a while.

"When you say he's a little bit behind, yeah, he's rusty," Trammell said. "But I think the most important thing is to get him healthy. If he's healthy and he's a little rusty, I think he can work through that. The combination of being rusty and still hurting, that's a terrible combination."

Bobby Higginson started in Ordonez's place for the second consecutive game.

Martinez sprains left thumb: The Tigers could be down one utility infielder after Ramon Martinez left Friday's game in the fifth inning with what was initially diagnosed as a sprained left thumb.

Martinez suffered the injury diving for a ground ball hit by Coco Crisp into the hole. He made the stop but was clearly in pain as he picked himself off the ground. Jason Smith, whom the Tigers kept on the Opening Day roster as a second utility infielder, replaced him.

The thumb injury has a history. Trammell said Martinez had surgery on the same thumb earlier in his career while he was a member of the San Francisco Giants.

"It's more of a sprain right now," Trammell said. "We'll have to see exactly how severe it really is."

Guillen's day off: By contrast, Carlos Guillen's first day off of the season Friday had nothing to do with whether he's able to play. Trammell said he's sticking to his plan to rest Guillen a little more than usual to try to avoid excess wear and tear on the All-Star shortstop's surgically repaired right knee.

"I was trying to figure out what would be the longest rest [for Guillen]," Trammell said. "And [Thursday's] day game and then till [Saturday], it kind of works out. We can build him up. It gives us a chance to get Ramon [Martinez] in the lineup, and it also gives me a chance to rest Carlos and just make sure that we have him for the long haul."

Guillen didn't seem to mind, even joked about it. "It's cold weather," he said with a smile. "No night games in the cold."

Guillen actually did make in to Friday's game, and struck out as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth.

Knotts on disabled list: The Tigers had to rescind the outright assignment of right-hander Gary Knotts to Triple-A Toledo and instead place him on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder.

Though tests on Knotts revealed nothing more than what Trammell called "normal wear and tear kind of stuff," the reliever has said he feels discomfort. A Major League team cannot outright the contract of an injured player to the Minors.

Knotts will report to Lakeland, Fla., and begin a rehab program. "He'll be down there probably a while," Trammell said.

Verlander makes regular-season debut: Right-hander Justin Verlander, the second overall pick in last summer's First-Year Player Draft, was the Opening Day starter for Class A Lakeland Thursday against the Tampa Yankees at Legends Field. He gave up two runs, one earned, in three innings with four strikeouts, taking the loss in an 8-5 defeat.

Coming up: Wilfredo Ledezma, who made his Spring Training finale more than a week ago, will make his regular-season debut Saturday when the Tigers and Indians continue their weekend series with a 1:05 p.m. ET start.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.