Ordonez broke his right ankle in July.
“I’m excited to be back in Detroit,” Ordonez said during a conference call Friday. “I like the organization, my teammates, my owner and everything around the Detroit Tigers and I want to be comfortable. At this point of my career, I don’t want to be bouncing around.”
General manager Dave Dombrowski said from the start the team was open to bringing back Ordonez, but it didn’t seem like much of a priority when the Tigers spent millions to add Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit, while also making sure Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta remained.
There still was room in the lineup for another power hitter, though, so Detroit will welcome Ordonez back with a one-year deal that involves little risk for the club. Ordonez turns 37 next month, but he hit .303 with 12 homers last season.
“This completes our everyday lineup and puts us in a good position going into next year,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t think we have a glaring need at this point, but you can always get better.”
“You made mine, too,” Ordonez said.
Ordonez has hit .312 with 289 homers and 1,204 RBIs in 14 seasons with the Tigers and Chicago White Sox. His pennant-winning homer four years ago lifted Detroit to its first World Series appearance since 1984. He hit .363 in 2007 and finished second in AL MVP voting.
“He let me know from the start that his primary objective was to return to the Tigers,” Boras said.
Then, injuries to him and some other key players started the team on a slide that it couldn’t recover from. Detroit finished 81-81.