The switch of Ryan Raburn to second base seems to have perked up Detroit’s offense in the short term.
Raburn has played second in four of Detroit’s last six games and the Tigers went 5-1 against Seattle and the Chicago White Sox. He didn’t take so much as a grounder in spring training and had not until Detroit went on a West Coast trip to Oakland and Seattle last week.
Now Raburn alternates between left field and second base with the change not seeming to hurt his hitting. In fact he broke out of a strikeout-filled slump by going 8-for-25 with two home runs and eight RBI against Seattle and Chicago.
“That’s why we try to get him in there, for some punch,” manager Jim Leyland said of Raburn.
Hitting Raburn second against left-handers has given Detroit some needed activity at the top of the batting order and Austin Jackson perked up at the plate with five hits against the White Sox.
Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch have hit well all season but some struggling Tigers hitters have shown signs of breaking out of slumps, including Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge.
There’s something to be given up defensively with Raburn at second but that wasn’t the reason he was moved to the outfield. Detroit needed an outfield bat at that time because it was stronger in the infield.
Moving back to the infield might have been a surprise but it hasn’t been a strain on Raburn.
“It’s actually not too bad,” he said. “It took me a few days to take some ground balls, but I didn’t feel too bad. Last year, I actually felt comfortable there for the first time in a while. I’m hoping that carries over and maybe I get a little more time there.”
The positives have outweighed the negatives so it now seems likely Raburn will continue in his current second/left mode even when Victor Martinez comes off the disabled list.
Raburn went 1-for-4 Sunday in a 3-0 win over Chicago.
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