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“Magglio had just been talking three or four days ago about how he felt great, how he felt as good as he’s felt for a long time,” Leyland said. “When the trainer came in during the rain delay and told me, I was almost flabbergasted, to be honest with you. … It doesn’t appear that there was any significant movement or anything that did it. “
The rain delays Saturday night were the first at Rangers Ballpark since May 24. This season was played during one of the hottest and driest summers in North Texas, including 27 games when the temperature was 100 degrees or more at first pitch.
With the forecast for more rain Sunday night, officials were wary of a repeat of what happened Saturday.
“We felt with the forecast that we had that we didn’t want to experience what we did last night. … With the forecast for this evening, it appears that it’s going to be a duplication of what we saw,” Rangers president Nolan Ryan said. “The one thing we’re concerned about is the integrity of the game and not put either team in a situation where possibly the elements could affect the outcome of the game.”
Both of Detroit’s playoff series openers this season have been plagued by rain with ace Justin Verlander on the mound.
Verlander threw one inning and 25 pitches in the division series opener at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 30 when that game was suspended by rain. The right-hander who won 24 games in the regular season came back and started Game 3, winning as he threw 120 pitches with 11 strikeouts over eight innings.
The likely AL Cy Young winner threw 25 first-inning pitches again Saturday at Texas and had 82 in four innings before the first delay.
Leyland had planned to bring back Verlander, but that changed after the second delay since it had been about two hours since his last pitch when the game finally resumed.
Rick Porcello, Detroit’s scheduled Game 4 starter, had two scoreless innings after replacing Verlander.
Leyland had indicated he could possibly alter his planned rotation, but said Sunday he was sticking to the original plan for Scherzer to be followed by Doug Fister and Porcello. Verlander would pitch Game 5 in Detroit scheduled for Thursday.
“He’ll pitch Game 5 under any circumstances,” the manager said.
Leyland stuck to a similar decision in the last series, when Verlander was never considered to pitch in relief in the ALDS finale and was ready to go on regular rest for his start against the Rangers.
As for Ordonez, he was re-signed to a $10 million, one-year deal by the Tigers last December after he broke his ankle sliding into home plate midway through the 2010 season. He struggled early this year, then missed a month before returning to the lineup in June.
After hitting a career-low .255 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 92 games during the regular season, Ordonez was 5 for 13 in the postseason.
“I saw him in the training room in between the rain delay. As far as how bad it was, nobody really knew how bad it was,” outfielder Ryan Raburn said. “That was unfortunate for us. He’s a veteran presence in the lineup we’ll definitely miss. We’ll need other guys to step up like we have done all year.”
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