Ordonez hit sixth and played right field Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays after being activated from the disabled list. He had been out since May 10 because of weakness in his surgically repaired right ankle.
Ordonez has struggled to recover after breaking his ankle sliding into home plate last July. He entered Monday hitting .172 with one home run and five RBIs in 26 games this season.
"It's stronger. I don't feel any pain," Ordonez said before the game. "I don't feel any discomfort. I'm ready to play."
Detroit re-signed Ordonez to a $10 million, one-year deal in December. He'll probably need to play in the field on a consistent basis to be of much use to the Tigers, who already have Victor Martinez as their designated hitter.
Detroit brought Ordonez back to hit in the middle of the order, although Brennan Boesch has emerged as the team's No. 3 hitter.
"Magglio Ordonez is a veteran player," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's been a great hitter. We hope he hits. Period."
Ordonez handled the first ball hit his way, running down Evan Longoria's deep fly at the warning track in the second inning. He drew a big cheer when he came to the plate to lead off the bottom of the second, then lined out to second baseman Sean Rodriguez, who made a nice catch.
Ordonez was hopeful the warmer temperatures this time of year -- it was 69 degrees at game time -- would help him.
"Weather helps," he said. "It's not nice to play when it's 40 degrees outside. I feel good."