Results tagged ‘ Ryan Raburn ’

Ryan Raburn gets defensive, sort of

In case you missed it, I wrote last night on Ryan Raburn’s journey to a long-awaited starting spot and how this spring contrasts with so many previous camps where he had to try to win a roster spot. There’s definitely a sense that has finally arrived, but there’s still that sense he wants to prove himself on defense. He’s a little irked by the reputation he has picked up in left field after some high-profile miscues last year. From the story:

“I don’t understand why people give me such a bad rep,” he said. “Yeah, I’ve made mistakes, but so have a lot of other people. I’d like to see [others] go out every so many days … and try to do the best they can. They’re not going to be perfect, but there’s nobody in this game that is perfect.”

Raburn’s point: It’s hard to judge a utility player as an outfielder if he’s playing there sporadically while mixing in infield work. He’s getting all of his work in the outfield this spring, both in games and in workouts.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think there’s anything physically that should preclude Raburn from being a better outfielder. When he has made his gaffes, it hasn’t been because he couldn’t get to the ball. Either he takes a bad route or makes a bad read. The hope would be that the more repetitions he has, the better reads and routes he gets.

I can’t say I’ve seen all of Raburn’s work this spring; I missed the split-squad game in Clearwater where he tripled and homered. But I’ve only seen one Raburn misread this spring, which turned a line drive against the Blue Jays last Saturday into a jumping catch.

Tigers, Raburn avoid arbitration with 2-year deal

The Tigers signed left fielder Ryan Raburn to a two-year, $3.4 million contract, taking one more player out of their arbitration concerns and inking an emerging member of their starting lineup just as he emerges as a regular player.
Raburn spent the past few years shuffling between a superutility role and occasional stretches in the starting lineup. After batting .280 last year with 25 doubles, 15 home runs and 62 RBIs in 371 at-bats, though, he’s poised to take the bulk of the playing time in left field and possibly grab a key spot in the top half of the order.
It was somewhat of a surprise deal for Raburn, who turns 30 years old in April and is eligible for arbitration for the first time. Given Detroit’s other contractual commitments and the arbitration cases they had this year, they were expected to hold themselves to one-year deals. And as of a week ago, there supposedly hadn’t been much going on between the two sides.
But as long as the Tigers are committed to keeping Raburn in a big position beyond this year, and they believe he can produce, then there was a financial benefit to signing him for 2012 now rather than let him go to arbitration with a full season of production on his resume.
The move leaves reliever Joel Zumaya and starter Armando Galarraga as the remaining arbitration-eligible Tigers.

Wanted: One run producer (at least) for Tigers

Miguel Cabrera is a physical presence at 6-foot-4, with a listed weight of 240. In real life, he doesn’t need a whole lot of protection.

In baseball, Miguel Cabrera received 32 intentional walks this season, more than any American League player received since 1993, and more than the next two highest AL totals this year. He could use some protection in the lineup.

In a year when the Tigers have potentially more than $50 million to spend on upgrading the club, protecting Cabrera with at least one proven hitter will be one of team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski’s two biggest goals, if not the biggest.

Help could be in the form of a corner outfielder, of which there are many potentially set to hit the mark. It could be in the form of a designated hitter, and Dombrowski didn’t rule out the idea of going back to a full-time DH again. They could do multiple signings, something Dombrowski hinted at when he talked Sunday about being nimble in this market. But some way, they need to bulk up the heart of the lineup.

“We need a middle of the order bat to drive in runs,” Dombrowski said. “We have to have that. And it’s most likely going to come either in the outfield or at DH, or both, because we already have that type of bat at first base. There are other areas [where it could come], and that’s why we need to be flexible this winter in what we do. But those are the most likely areas that it would come.”

The difference that support makes can be seen in the splits. Cabrera, and in turn the Tigers, were at their best in May, June and early July, when Magglio Ordonez was getting on base in front of Cabrera, and rookie Brennan Boesch was proving to be a potent run producer behind him. His top two months in terms of OPS were May and July, and three of his top four months for RBIs came in that span.

Once opposing pitchers began approaching Boesch differently after the All-Star break, and his amazing production went south, the walk totals on Cabrera logically soared. Once Ordonez suffered his season-ending ankle fracture, of course, Cabrera’s RBI opportunities dipped.

Ordonez’s injury set in motion a lot of moving parts. Once it became clear he wouldn’t get enough at-bats to best his $15 million option, it became the club’s decision whether to pick it up. Dombrowski announced Sunday that they won’t pick it up, making Ordonez a free agent this winter.

The Tigers and Ordonez have mutual interest in working out a deal, but it’s going to take some creativity, beyond simply the contract terms. The Tigers have to look at Ordonez’s recovery from ankle surgery as it goes along and project how much time he can realistically play in the field at age 37.

“At this point, I don’t know how much you consider him being an outfielder compared to also where it fits into [him] being a DH,” Dombrowski said. “I think you have two spots you’re talking about, and see where eventually he kind of fits into that.”
If the Tigers re-sign Ordonez, Dombrowski indicated, it likely wouldn’t be their only signing. But if Ordonez is back, can they still sign someone for the DH slot, or would they need that fifth hitter to play the outfield at least some?

For what it’s worth, Dombrowski’s comments indicate he’s more open to having a full-time DH again than he might’ve been, say, two years ago with an older lineup.

“I guess you’d prefer not to,” Dombrowski said, “but would we consider that? I think we’ll consider anything that gives us some offense in the middle of the lineup at this time, that we think we need, somebody that can drive in some runs. Ideally you’d prefer not to have it, but if that’s the way it fit in, that’s the way it fit in.

“One thing is that we don’t have as many players going forward that are older. I mean, we’ve kind of turned into a little bit younger club. So most guys can go out there and play most days. You might look to give a day off to somebody once in a while, and then [manager Jim Leyland] can decide who he wants to DH at that particular time, but we don’t have a lot of older players. … If the right guy fit, we’d sign a DH.”

Dombrowski said the Tigers would prefer to add at least one left-handed bat to their lineup. That could come internally, if Carlos Guillen is ready for the start of the season after microfracture surgery, or if Boesch wins an expected competition for an outfield spot. More likely, though, they’d like one of the bats they sign to come from the left side.

That shouldn’t be a big problem to find on the free-agent market, where the top end could potentially include slugger Adam Dunn and multi-tooled catalyst Carl Crawford, among others. Dunn, specifically, would seem to fit a DH type of role, though he has told reporters in Washington he’d rather not do that full-time.

Dombrowski isn’t getting into any names at this point, other than the guys on his team, but he believes there’s enough on the free-agent market for them to find help. He also has players on the team who can supplement that.

One of those guys is Ryan Raburn, who might finally be poised for close to an everyday role. Dombrowski stopped just shy of labeling him as such, but made it clear he has stepped up in importance to the lineup.

“I don’t know if he’ll be an everyday outfielder or not, but I think we feel he could be a primary guy,” Dombrowski said. “How many at-bats that entails, I don’t know. It depends on who else is with our club at that time, how the manager makes out the lineup, how he produces. But we look at him as being an important part of our team, and a guy that’s going to play a lot. I wouldn’t say he’s an everyday outfielder yet, but he’s going to play a lot.”

Carlos Guillen still sore, could be done for year

Nearly three weeks after Brett Gardner slid into Carlos Guillen’s left knee, Guillen said the soreness is just as bad as it was before, as is the pinching pain he gets when he moves around sometimes.

“Maybe worse,” he said.

It’s a bad sign, obviously, and it puts his potential return this season in question.

Though Guillen said he’s walking better than he had been, he said the knee still restricts him from doing much more than that. That basically puts him in a holding pattern right now, limiting him to basic rehab activities.

Guillen will visit with team physician Dr. Stephen Lemos in the coming days. That exam might include another MRI.

“That’ll probably be something we’ll look at as we go forward,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Monday morning.

They’re not looking at his return anytime soon. And with four weeks left in the season, there’s a growing possibility that he’s done for the year. Leyland said he didn’t know whether Guillen would be back this season, and Guillen didn’t sound confident in his situation either.

“At this point right now, obviously we’ve got to get his knee to the point where he has no soreness,” Leyland said. “Once we get to that point, then we can increase his activity. But at the pace it’s going right now, we might run out of time.”

Other injury updates:

  • Armando Galarraga said his elbow issues were different than normal pitching soreness, he said he was feeling better today. He doesn’t believe he’ll miss any starts because of it once he gets some treatment on it. Still, manager Jim Leyland indicated the Tigers could make one more September call-up because of it, certainly if it lingers. Coincidentally, Andy Oliver threw a side session at Triple-A Toledo Sunday after making his last start of the season for the Mud Hens Friday.
  • Gerald Laird is still out with back issues. He’s going to get treatment Monday and Tuesday for the goal of playing Wednesday against White Sox lefty John Danks.
  • Ryan Raburn is better today after what appears to be a case of food poisoning Sunday. He fell ill just before game time and stayed that way until the problem lifted overnight.
  • Ryan Strieby underwent a CT scan Sunday and has an appointment coming up with hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham. There’s a real possibility he could recommend another surgery on Strieby’s ailing left wrist, which has sidelined him since the end of July. If that happens, obviously, he’ll miss the Arizona Fall League for a second straight year.

Monday: Tigers vs. White Sox

First the injury roundup: Ryan Raburn is not in the lineup today, but he said he’s feeling much better after coming down with what he suspects was food poisoning Sunday morning. He said the illness finally lifted overnight. Gerald Laird is not available; his back is still out of alignment. He’s hoping to be back to play against White Sox lefty John Danks Wednesday night.

Other than that, it’s a pretty standard lineup. Note that Scott Sizemore is NOT available today. He is indeed being called up, as reported last night, but the move won’t be official until tomorrow.


  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Damon, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Kelly, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Boesch, RF
  8. Avila, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Max Scherzer


  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Omar Vizquel, SS
  3. Carlos Quentin, RF
  4. Manny Ramirez, DH
  5. Mark Teahen, 3B
  6. Andruw Jones, CF
  7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  8. Mark Kotsay, 1B
  9. Gordon Beckham, 2B

P: Edwin Jackson

Wednesday: Tigers at Twins

Max St. Pierre isn’t in the startling lineup. Gerald Laird is, but other injury issues are troubling Detroit. Ryan Raburn strained his rotator cuff swinging at a Matt Capps pitch in the ninth inning last night and is day-to-day, forcing Brennan Boesch into the lineup against lefty Francisco Liriano. With Raburn out, Casper Wells gets his shot in the third spot ahead of Miguel Cabrera. 

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Wells, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Peralta, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Santiago, SS
  8. Boesch, RF
  9. Laird, C
P: Max Scherzer
  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Danny Valencia, 3B
  7. Jose Morales, DH
  8. Jason Repko, RF
  9. J.J. Hardy, SS
P: Francisco Liriano

Sunday: Tigers at Red Sox

Too many ins and outs to sum up in a paragraph or two, so here’s your rundown of who is and isn’t available for the Tigers today:

  • Johnny Damon is out of the lineup again today, but he said this morning that his back is getting better. He was going to try some swings in the cage this morning to see if he can play today.
  • Turns out Danny Worth also is ailing. He has a heel that he injured stepping hard on the bag trying to beat out a hit Friday night. He was not available Saturday, manager Jim Leyland revealed, meaning that the only player the Tigers had available on the bench was catcher Alex Avila. “If one of the infielders got hurt,” Leyland said, “I was screwed.” Worth said he can play today if needed.
  • Ryan Raburn was back in the clubhouse Sunday after spending Saturday back in Florida for his grandfather’s funeral. He’s starting in left field.
  • The bullpen today is without Jose Valverde, Phil Coke and Ryan Perry. They do not have Bonderman available in relief anymore, not with his start coming up Tuesday. Everybody else is available. Not only do none of the four available relievers have any saves this year, they don’t have any saves in their Major League careers. I have no idea what they’ll do in a save situation, so don’t ask me.
That pretty much covers it. Here are the lineups.
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Raburn, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, RF
  6. Peralta, 3B
  7. Frazier, DH
  8. Avila, C
  9. Santiago, SS
P: Justin Verlander
  1. Marco Scutaro, SS
  2. J.D. Drew, RF
  3. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Victor Martinez, C
  6. Adrian Beltre, 3B
  7. Ryan Kalish, LF
  8. Jed Lowrie, 2B
  9. Eric Patterson, CF
P: Clay Buchholz

Saturday: Tigers at Red Sox

Tigers are taking batting practice as I blog, and as of now, nothing seems to be stirring as far as trades. That could change on a moment’s notice, though.

The bigger concern for the Tigers today is their positional situation. Johnny Damon said coming in today that his back felt the same as yesterday, which is to say it feels terrible. He’s not in the lineup, but neither is Ryan Raburn, who is in Florida today for a funeral following the passing of his grandfather. He’s expected back tomorrow.

The result is that not only are the Tigers heavy on rookies, they’re light on number of healthy players. Their top third of the lineup today is comprised of rookies, and their bench is down to two players, one of whom is the backup catcher Alex Avila.

“We’re scrambling for a lineup today, let alone being able to protect somebody,” Leyland said.


  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Boesch, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Peralta, 3B
  6. Kelly, LF
  7. Frazier, DH
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Max Scherzer


  1. Marco Scutaro, SS
  2. J.D. Drew, RF
  3. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Victor Martinez, C
  6. Adrian Beltre, 3B
  7. Bill Hall, 2B
  8. Jeremy Hermida, LF
  9. Darnell McDonald, CF

P: Daisuke Matsuzaka

Inge to DL, Fien recalled

The Tigers need an extra arm in the bullpen at the moment more than they need a third baseman to replace injured Brandon Inge. So Detroit placed Inge on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Casey Fien from Triple-A Toledo Tuesday afternoon to provide an extra arm while it ponders what to do at third base.
Inge is expected to be out 4-6 weeks after fracturing a bone in his left hand Monday night against the Rangers.
After Monday’s 14-inning loss to Texas, a fourth-inning exit from Andy Oliver Sunday afternoon and a day-night doubleheader that included another extra-inning game Saturday, Detroit’s bullpen has pitched 20.2 innings over five games in four days since the All-Star break. Five relievers pitched Monday night, including closer Jose Valverde for the second consecutive day.
That left the Tigers looking for an extra arm to handle work Tuesday night if Armando Galarraga can’t work deep into the game. Enter Fien, who was up with the Tigers for two days a few weeks ago before Ryan Perry returned. Fien pitched two scoreless innings June 30 at Minnesota.
Fien’s arrival means third base will fall to the Detroit’s utilitymen for at least Tuesday. With the Rangers starting right-hander Tommy Hunter Tuesday night, Don Kelly appears likely to get the start at third base for the second time in three days. Kelly gave Inge a day off Sunday at Cleveland and replaced him at third base in the fifth inning Monday. 
Once the Tigers get their bullpen back in order, they have a few options to replace Inge positionally. Jeff Larish has been the primary third baseman at Triple-A Toledo, and is batting .298 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 36 RBIs since June 1, but the Tigers didn’t consider Larish an everyday third baseman during his stints in Detroit. He was playing there to enhance his versatility.
Scott Sizemore, the Tigers’ Opening Day second baseman, has hit well since coming back from injuries and could feasibly return to the big leagues if the Tigers move Carlos Guillen to third. However, Sizemore just recently came off the DL with a hip injury, and Guillen hasn’t played third base since spending half the ’08 season there.
Guillen likely won’t have a problem moving again. How he does there remains to be seen. His middle infield instincts have allowed him to handle second base a little better than expected.
Detroit’s best defensive option could be to go with Kelly, an infielder by trade coming up through the Tigers farm system before adding outfield to his resume in recent years in the Pirates and Diamondbacks organizations. He’s batting .219 (25-for-114) with Detroit this year with three doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. Fellow Tigers utilityman Ryan Raburn also has experience at third base.

Saturday: Magglio still out

Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand reports more improvement for Magglio Ordonez, but still not enough to get him back in the lineup. He was out on the field for batting practice today, which was a good sign. With a day game Sunday and an off-day Monday, though, it would not be a surprise if manager Jim Leyland decided to give Ordonez the next couple days to be safe and bring him back Tuesday against Washington.

Ryan Raburn is back in left field and batting third today with the left-handed Paul Maholm on the mound.


  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Raburn, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, RF
  6. Guillen, 2B
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Worth, SS

P: Jeremy Bonderman


  1. Jose Tabata, LF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Garrett Jones, DH
  5. Ryan Doumit, 1B
  6. Ryan Church, RF
  7. Andy LaRoche, 3B
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. Jason Jaramillo, C

P: Paul Maholm