Leyland Preaches Patience With Hitters

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Jim Leyland - (Getty Images)

Jim Leyland – (Getty Images)

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The first three players in Detroit’s batting order did something that hasn’t happened very often for the Tigers this season — each one got at least one hit.

Detroit has to be the only team in the league that entered play Friday with the top three hitters in its batting order fielding averages less than .200.

Austin Jackson, Will Rhymes and Magglio Ordonez are all under .200 even after the center fielder got two hits and the other pair had a single apiece. Rhymes went 1-for-4 to lift his batting average to exactly .200.

Manager Jim Leyland isn’t ready to make changes yet, though.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s a matter of believing in track records.”

Detroit blew 3-0 and 5-2 leads while losing, 9-5, to Cleveland for the Tigers’ fourth straight loss in their latest losing streak.

Leyland has limited options in reworking his batting order, at least with the roster as currently constituted. Outfielder Andy Dirks, who impressed during spring training, is off to a good start for Class AAA Toledo but Jackson’s defensive excellence somewhat mitigates his offensive struggles. And when Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Raburn or Brennan Boesch are flanking him, his importance is even greater.

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