ARLINGTON, Texas -- What the Tigers need most right now is a few more rainouts. Well, make that a lot more rainouts. Like, maybe, 100 or more in a row. If they can just get Game 2 switched to say, Forks, Wash., near the Hoh Rain Forest, they might stand a chance to have their full roster healthy again before the American League Championship Series ends. Which, unfortunately, could be much sooner than anyone in Detroit hoped.
With left fielder Delmon Young already hurting from a strained left oblique, the Tigers received more bad news Sunday when they learned that right fielder Magglio Ordonez will miss the rest of the year after re-fracturing his right ankle. All this comes after outfielder Brennan Boesch was knocked out for the season in September due to a torn ligament in his right thumb.
The Ordonez news was so unexpected that Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he didn't even know with whom the Tigers would replace Ordonez on the roster (is Bobby Higginson still under contract?). In the meantime, the Tigers were believed to be sealing center fielder Austin Jackson in carbonite, bubble wrap and those little Styrofoam packing peanuts.
Teams are allowed to replace an injured player on their roster in the postseason with anyone who was in the organization on Aug. 31.
Leyland put his best spin on the injury -- "We're a tough team. We'll figure something out and we'll get through this" -- but this is another blow to the Tigers, who are trailing one game to none in a series that just got more difficult. If injuries aren't keeping their players out of the lineup this postseason, the weather is keeping Justin (Rain Man) Verlander from pitching more than a couple of innings. Leyland said the rain is not changing his rotation "under any circumstances." He plans to stick with Rick Porcello as the Tigers' starting pitcher in Game 4 and Verlander will start Game 5.
That is, if there is a Game 5.
I see this as a great opportunity for us to show how tough we are. And we're tough. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. I don't want anybody feeling sorry for us. We'll make due.
”-- Tigers manager Jim Leyland
Ordonez broke his right ankle last year and he missed time this season with ankle trouble, as well. Pain flared up again during Saturday's rain delay, following his intentional walk in the fifth inning. "It doesn't appear that there was any significant movement or anything that did it. It just all of a sudden flared up," Leyland said. "After some medical tests and results this morning, it shows there is a situation that is not conducive to him playing the rest of the year."
The outfielder didn't have his most productive season, but he did hit well in September and had five hits and two walks in the Division Series. His injury also takes a veteran, right-handed bat out of the Tigers' lineup against the lefty-heavy Texas rotation (potential Game 5 starter C.J. Wilson, Game 2 starter Derek Holland and Game 4 starter Matt Harrison).
Sunday's rainout could help the Rangers at least for Game 2. Converted starter Alexi Ogando has been exceptional in relief this postseason, but he wouldn't have been available to pitch Sunday had the game been played as scheduled. Now he will be available, which is just a little more bad news for a Detroit offense that isn't nearly as imposing as it was a week ago.
"I see this as a great opportunity for us to show how tough we are," Leyland said. "And we're tough. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. I don't want anybody feeling sorry for us. We'll make due."
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
Follow Jim Caple on Twitter: @jimcaple