DETROIT -- Tigers All-Star outfielder Magglio Ordonez will undergo surgery Wednesday to stabilize his fractured right ankle, a procedure that erases any possibility he had of returning this season.
With that operation now set, it's possible that the July 24 slide into home plate on which Ordonez suffered his injury will be the final play in his illustrious Tigers tenure.
Ordonez spent Tuesday in Los Angeles visiting with Dr. Philip Kwong, a foot and ankle specialist at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic. The doctor measured the healing in Ordonez's ankle that had taken place in the month since the injury and recommended surgery.
"Some people felt like surgery was not necessary. Other people thought it was," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's like anything else. It's opinions. I think it's better to be safe than sorry, so I'm glad it's going to be taken care of. I think it'll relax Magglio a little bit more to know that it's going to be stabilized for good, and he won't have to worry about it."
It isn't a major procedure, but it'll require enough recovery time that he won't be able to come back in September, as previously hoped. The original timetable on Ordonez's recovery was four to six weeks, but the fact that Ordonez was still on crutches after his follow-up exam last week in Detroit put that very much in doubt.
Ordonez is expected to be fully recovered in time for next season. Where he'll be playing in 2011, though, is anyone's guess. When asked about Ordonez's contract situation, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday night that any discussion on any players for next season won't take place until the end of this season, an organizational policy.
If the Tigers decline Ordonez's option, he would become a free agent this winter. They could still try to re-sign him at a lower salary, though Ordonez could also test the market to see what offers he can get from other teams. Teams have a 15-day period after the end of the season in which they hold exclusive rights to negotiate with their own free agents.
The 36-year-old Ordonez was batting .303 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs this year at the time of the injury. His loss has had a big impact on the Tigers' lineup, where he would usually be batting in front of American League MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.