TigsTown MLN: The Former Tigers

It was likely the start of Magglio Ordonez's rehabilitation assignment that brought everyone to the ballpark on Monday night for Toledo's game against Indianapolis. But they got more than just the appearance from an All Star, as another player that has sported the ‘ole English ‘D' came through big.

Turns out, Carlos Pena, not Magglio Ordonez, was the one to provide the highlights in the Mud Hens game last night against Indianapolis. The game, which went 12 innings, was eventually ended by Carlos Pena's walk off home run to give the ‘Hens a 6-5 victory.

The home run was Pena's second in Toledo, improving his slugging percentage to an even .500 for Toledo in 84 at bats. Combine that with an OBP of .451, and Pena has to be knocking on the Tigers door, right?

Not exactly. Truth be told, between Dmitri Young and Chris Shelton, the Tigers are getting far more production out of their designated hitter and first baseman positions than they were with Pena. Defensively, neither comes close to matching Pena's ability, but at a position of far less defensive importance, that can only give Pena so much. Barring injury, Pena may very well be relegated to minor league duty for the remainder of the year; unless the team looks to move him somewhere else where he might get a shot to play again in the big leagues.

As for Ordonez, his first start was about what was expected; a hit and a walk in three plate appearances before being taken out of the game. The plan remains for Ordonez to spend around a week in Toledo before returning to Detroit, barring any setbacks. The key for Ordonez will be to see how he recovers after a playing a game; in that more than once he felt fine after taking a few days off, would play one game, and couldn't get back out there the day after. In any case, the Tigers can't wait to get the slugger back in the lineup.

The other tidbit to take note of when it comes to the Tigers and their highest level farm team is the need for another starter. While the Tigers were able to go with just four for a couple weeks, this weekend they'll need someone else to make a start due to a doubleheader with Cleveland

The Tigers obviously have options; as Wilfredo Ledezma, Kenny Baugh and Andrew Good remain on the 40 man roster, and Matt Ginter spent the first two and a half months with the parent club before being sent down to bring up Sean Douglass. That list would also include Jason Grilli, who had another strong outing on Monday. Surprisingly enough, the odds on favorite appears to be Ginter, especially after he pitched five strong innings of shutout baseball in his first start as a Mud Hen.

Finally, it appears as if the Tigers are going to take one last try with Rob Henkel, and this time move him around in hopes of keeping him healthy. The Tigers have moved Henkel to the bullpen, and expect to keep him there, at least in the near future.

The Hens already have five starters (Good, Grilli, Ledezma, Baugh, Ginter), and the level below has a logjam as well, so it's easier to place Henkel in the ‘pen for the time being anyway. But the Tigers need to find a way to try and keep the youngster healthy, as while he has some of the best pure stuff in the organization, he needs to be able to stay on the mound to display it. If this final experiment doesn't work out, the possibility of Henkel and the Tigers parting ways at the end of this season are pretty strong.


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