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How Much Has Magglio's Heel Hurt Him?

With Magglio Ordonez undergoing a MRI exam on his left heel today, is it worth asking how much that pain may have affected his power numbers?

That heel certainly hasn't messed with Maggs' batting stroke, as he currently leads Ichiro Suzuki by eight percentage points (.358 to .350) in the race for the batting title (which is, as D-Town Baseball points out, gives Tigers fans one last race to follow). And it hasn't appeared to compromise Ordonez's ability to drive in runs. (Maggs has just one RBI in his last eight games. Of course, that doesn't take other factors into account, such as runners getting on base for him.)

The biggest reason I raise this question - if it's even worth bringing up now - is that the Tigers' lack of power has really seemed to hurt them over the last few weeks. It was one of Jim Leyland's biggest points of frustration during last week's series with Cleveland. His lineup would get 15 hits, but it was a parade of singles. No one drove the ball for extra bases or into the seats to score those base-runners, while the Indians seemingly hit everything over the fence.

Of course, Ordonez isn't the only reason for that. Gary Sheffield's shoulder has sapped away his power. Maybe Carlos Guillen's knees have prevented him from driving the ball, too. But those guys don't hit in that clean-up spot.

As far as I can tell, we don't know exactly when Ordonez's left heel began giving him problems. So we can't just point to a date on his game log and say "Ah-ha!" We also don't know if the heel affects him more playing the outfield or at the plate. Given that his left foot is his plant foot when he swings, however, it's certainly possible that he feels pain every time he pivots upon it.

Maggs' 27 home runs are the most he's hit as a Detroit Tiger, and his highest total since 2003 with the White Sox (and his infamous knee injury). If he's able to play next season fully healthy, maybe we'll see a rise in those power numbers. Or considering Ordonez's age and recent injury history, maybe this is the best to be expected.

It's been a great season for Ordonez; maybe a spectacular season if he wins the batting title. I'm not trying to poke holes in it. I'm just wondering what might have been if that heel hadn't started aching.