Free agent outfielder Magglio Ordoñez has made consistent progress after undergoing right ankle surgery and intends to play in 2012.
Radhi Muhammad, founder and head performance coach at 440 Fitness in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said Ordoñez has recently returned to some baseball activities and no longer requires the use of a walking boot. Ordoñez has been taking swings in the cage against batting-practice pitching in an attempt to get his timing back.
“He’s hitting the ball hard,” Muhammad told FOXSports.com this week. “The bat sounds good.”
Ordoñez fractured the ankle while playing for Detroit in the American League Championship Series last fall. It was the second such injury to his right ankle in a span of 15 months. The first occurred July 25, 2010.
Ordoñez, who turns 38 later this month, underwent surgery around the end of October. His ankle was in a hard cast for nearly five weeks and then a walking boot for two and a half weeks.
Ordoñez hasn’t had any formal workouts for scouts, but Muhammad, who is coaching his off-season workouts, said that could occur around the time spring camps open next month.
Muhammad explained that the focus isn’t necessarily on Ordoñez being a full participant when full-squad workouts begin, but rather that he would be able to participate in enough spring-training games to be ready for the start of the regular season. “We’re trying to get a solid foundation for him,” Muhammad said. “We’re taking it slower than we did last year.”
Ordoñez appeared in 92 games for the Tigers last year but hit for little power, posting a .255/.303/.331 line with five home runs. However, by taking a more deliberate pace with his rehabilitation from this surgery, Ordoñez may be able to hit for average in 2012, as he did over the final 22 games last season (.354).
-- Jon Paul Morosi