May 30th, 2012

Fister to DL, Crosby to start Friday

Add another key injury to the Tigers, who just placed Doug Fister back on the 15-day DL with a left side strain, similar to the injury that cost him a month earlier this season.

The move was just announced, so it doesn’t sound like something that was anticipated. There was no sign of trouble with Fister coming out of Monday’s outing against the Red Sox.

Casey Crosby will take Fister’s spot in the rotation and start Friday against the Yankees for his major league debut. Rick Porcello has been moved back to Saturday.

Wednesday: Tigers at Red Sox

The big advantage of having three catchers on the 25-man roster is that if you have a good-hitting catcher, you can use him as a designated hitters on days when he’s not behind the plate and still have a catcher on the bench. When Detroit called up Omir Santos this morning, you had to wonder if Alex Avila might get a game or two at DH. You probably weren’t thinking about Gerald Laird there.

This will be Laird’s first start at DH as a Tiger. He started four games at DH with the Rangers in 2008.

Danny Worth starts in the second spot because, well, there isn’t really an obvious alternative without putting back-to-back left-handed bats atop the order. Look for Worth to get more starts than a simple lefty-righty platoon.

Andy Dirks gets a day off to rest a sore Achilles heel.

TIGERS

  1. Quintin Berry, CF
  2. Danny Worth, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Brennan Boesch, RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Gerald Laird, DH

P: Drew Smyly

RED SOX

  1. Daniel Nava, LF
  2. Mike Aviles, SS
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, RF
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
  6. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
  7. Marlon Byrd, CF
  8. Kelly Shoppach, C
  9. Nick Punto, 2B

P: Jon Lester

Santos called up to replace Raburn on roster

The mystery move to take Ryan Raburn’s spot on the Tigers’ 25-man roster is going to Omir Santos, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Toledo. He’ll be the third catcher on the Tigers roster for the time being, at least until Austin Jackson comes back from the disabled list.

It seems like an odd return move to wait until the next day to do. The only complication in the move is that Santos had to be added to the 40-man roster. It’s also a move that doesn’t follow any sort of catching injury to either Alex Avila or Gerald Laird.

Was this a Plan B move after something else didn’t work out? Possible, but remember, when the Tigers designated Brandon Inge last summer, they waited until their trade for Wilson Betemit was finalized and then announced both parts of the move at the same time.

Was this a reaction to Austin Jackson not being ready by Friday? Jim Leyland said Monday’s game was a last-ditch effort to get Raburn going. If the Tigers weren’t going to do anything until Jackson was eligible to come off the DL on Friday, why make a last-ditch move on Monday?

Was this more about getting Raburn to Toledo than getting anybody to Detroit? Very possible.

Was this a move that was more about getting Raburn to Toledo than getting anybody to Detroit?

Raburn optioned to Toledo, Santiago/Worth at 2nd

That leash on Ryan Raburn that Jim Leyland said wasn’t very long on Tuesday afternoon ran out by the end of the night.

The Tigers announced after Tuesday’s loss that they had optioned Ryan Raburn to Triple-A Toledo, but Leyland said it had been a decision in the works for a while. His decision to bat Raburn second in the batting order on Monday was a last-ditch effort to get Raburn out of his season-long funk.

Once Raburn struck out three times on called third strikes that afternoon, the Tigers’ wait for him to find his annual summer groove ended.

“I knew this was the end of the rope if I didn’t get something going, so I put him in the two-hole,” Leyland said.

They’ll still look for him to get that spark, but he’ll have to find it in a Mud Hens uniform first.

“You have to understand, this is not a punishment,” Leyland said. “We have to try to get him going. He has gone down before and got it going and come back and helped us out. We’re hoping that’s what happens. But right now, we’re beating a dead horse. It’s just not working.”

No return move was announced. They’ll have a call-up on Wednesday, but Leyland said it will not be a second baseman.

“I have a combination of [Ramon] Santiago and [Danny] Worth,” Leyland said, “and I think that combination will stay intact.”

Neither Santiago nor Worth have hit particularly well, either, but neither had been getting the regular at-bats Raburn was. The move doesn’t make way for a replacement so much as it gets Raburn out of a situation that wasn’t working.

Raburn’s slow starts and midseason streaks have been almost an annual storyline since 2009, but his numbers this year’s have been particularly bad. His .146 batting average (18-for-123) was the lowest in the Majors among players with at least 100 plate appearances this year.

“It’s kind of something I didn’t want to think would happen,” Raburn said, “but the way I’ve been swinging, I just hadn’t really gotten the job done. It was kind of inevitable, just to help the team and help me kind of get it going. It’s just unfortunate I wasn’t able to help the team out much.”

Raburn had brief stints at Toledo in three straight seasons from 2008-2010 before spending all of last season in the big leagues. Two years ago, he went 12-for-27 with six doubles as a Mud Hen and never looked back. The hope clearly is that he can have a similar spark that he never found here.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of him,” Leyland said. “I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get going.”

Raburn doesn’t feel like he’s embarking on a major project.

“I don’t feel like I’m trying to rediscover my swing or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting hits. That’s the bottom line. This game is based on production and right now I just wasn’t going. … I know I can help this ballclub. It’s just a matter of getting it going and getting back.”

The difference in Toledo, Raburn said, is that the pressure for immediate production isn’t as great.

“I think the main thing down there is really it’s not based on production,” he said. “I can go down there just trying to find me again. I don’t think it’s that far off. It’s just a matter of going down there and getting some at-bats. Sometimes having somebody else’s piece of mind can trigger something.

“I wish I had an answer why I wasn’t getting hits, but that’s part of the game. They’re out there making their money too.”

 

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