Thus, Ordonez went on the 15-day disabled list on Friday afternoon with left ankle soreness. The move set up Andy Dirks' long-speculated call from Triple-A Toledo, his contract purchased to fill the roster spot.
Essentially, the decision came from Ordonez, who talked with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand on the Tigers' off-day Thursday.
"Magglio came to me [Thursday] saying he felt his ankle was weak. He wasn't able to push off the way he'd like. He was feeling it a bit batting, a little bit playing defense. He's been feeling the effects of his ankle off and on during the season here. Some days feel a little bit better than others. So, we decided to look at it and err on the side of caution. We're shutting him down at this time and we're going to see Dr. [Phillip] Kwong out in Los Angeles."
Dr. Kwong is the specialist who performed the surgery that repaired Ordonez's fractured ankle at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic last August. He'll look over the test results and status updates on Ordonez the Tigers have taken since Spring Training, including an MRI exam taken last month.
Given Ordonez's situation, there has been a lot to update. He didn't really get a good stretch of games in a row until late April, when Victor Martinez's DL stint opened up the designated hitter role for Ordonez. Once Martinez returned from the DL last week, Ordonez went back to his usual spot in right field, though not playing every day.
Ordonez started three out of four games in Toronto, though one was at DH. After taking Monday's series finale off, he was back in right field on Tuesday night at Minnesota before getting Wednesday off.
His decision wasn't a reaction to any particular play, but an accumulation of frustration. The ankle feels good one day, then bad the next, and it isn't just a matter of weather.
"He's tried to battle his way through everything," Rand said, "and he's worked hard with it. He just feels at this point in time he's just not able to go out and push off on it right now. He wanted to continue, but the bottom line is, you can continue pushing it or you can see and make sure there's nothing more going on. ...
"You can test him from the strength perspective. You can test him running and swinging the bat, all those things. But until a guy goes out and plays every single day, day after day, night game after day game, those types of things, you never really know how it's going to respond. Sometimes you don't even get the full answer during Spring Training, because you take every precaution."
The speculation had been running on a possible Dirks call-up since late April, when Austin Jackson was in the midst of his deep season-opening slump. Jackson's hot hitting the last week and a half cooled that idea, but Dirks kept hitting. He entered Friday with a .328 average, six doubles, six homers and 20 RBIs in 34 games for the Mud Hens, including 8-for-16 over his last four games.
The move happened just as the Mud Hens were heading on the road for a four-game series at Gwinnett, Ga. Dirks was expected to arrive sometime during Friday's game and don his No. 12 jersey for his first game in a big league uniform.