LOS ANGELES -- The Interleague conundrum of fitting four Tigers outfielders into just three starting spots worked out with Johnny Damon on the bench for Friday's series opener against the Dodgers. However, manager Jim Leyland intends to mix and match this series among Damon, veteran Magglio Ordonez and rookie Brennan Boesch.
"I'm just going to switch it around," Leyland said Friday afternoon. "I'm not exactly sure how it's going to play out. Johnny will definitely play tomorrow."
The Tigers figured on having an outfield glut to solve this series when they signed Damon in February. However, they would've expected it to involve Carlos Guillen, who moved to DH when Damon signed in Spring Training. Guillen's on the disabled list, but Boesch has hit so well since being called up last month that it's difficult for the Tigers to take him out of the lineup.
Considering Boesch is playing for the first time at the ballpark where he grew up watching games with his dad as a Southern California native, Boesch probably wasn't going to sit the series opener. He had several friends and family members in attendance, so many that he lost track. His parents handled tickets for his family with help from the Dodgers, while Boesch took care of his close friends from his hometown of Santa Monica, Calif.
Ordonez was a question mark for the outfield going into the series with a right heel he injured in Oakland, but he said he was fine now. Ordonez said Friday he isn't quite sure how he hurt it, but it wasn't bothering him Tuesday against the White Sox. His best guess at the moment is that he slept on it wrong Tuesday night in a way that pulled his foot back.
Fortunately for the Tigers, they'll only have to go without the DH spot for two more games here. They won't have to play in any National League parks again for another month until they visit the Mets and Braves in late June.