Familiar faces fuel Tigers

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Team Venezuela, or at least the meat and potatoes of the batting order, will come out from the first-base dugout to be introduced tonight.

The three members will be wearing Detroit Tigers uniforms.

First baseman Miguel Cabrera, left fielder Magglio Ordonez and DH Carlos Guillen made up the 4-5-6 spots for manager Luis Sojo as Venezuela beat Team USA 5-3 at the Rogers Centre on March 11 to win the Toronto pool of the World Baseball Classic.

And tonight Ordonez, Cabrera and Guillen make up the 3-4-5 spots in manager Jim Leyland's order.

A year ago the Tigers, everyone's off-season pick to win the 2008 World Series after adding slugger Cabrera and lefty Dontrelle Willis from the Florida Marlins, hosted the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers were edged 5-4 in 11 innings on a Tony Pena single.

No big whoop, right?

The Tigers dropped the next two games of the K.C. series, were swept in a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox and won the second game of the Boston Red Sox series against Jeremy Bonderman to start 1-7.

"A start like that can do an awful lot to hurt your confidence," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.

After starting seven games below sea level, the Tigers finished dead last in the American League Central Division.

Cabrera was 4-for-15 (.267), with a solo homer, while Guillen was 3-for-14 (.214) with two homers and three RBIs. Ordonez went 3-for-14 (.214) as Venezuela beat Italy 7-0, lost 15-6 to Team USA, then clinched a second-round berth with a 10-1 romp over Italy.


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