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Tigers

Raburn Proves Productive In Utility Role

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 22: Ryan Raburn #25 of the Detroit Tigers looks at his hand after being hit by a pitch by Alex Burnett #31 of the Minnesota Twins in the sixth inning on July 22, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Tigers defeated the Twins 8-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 22: Ryan Raburn #25 of the Detroit Tigers looks at his hand after being hit by a pitch by Alex Burnett #31 of the Minnesota Twins in the sixth inning on July 22, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Tigers defeated the Twins 8-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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Maybe Ryan Raburn’s niche isn’t as a regular.

Manager Jim Leyland wanted to give Carlos Guillen a game off Wednesday night with a day game coming up Thursday, so he stuck Raburn back at second base, a position he occupied on a regular basis until Guillen came back from the disabled list in mid-July.

All Raburn did was hit an RBI single his first time up, single again in his second turn at bat and belt what turned out to be the game-winning home run his final time up, in the eighth. It gave Detroit a 5-3 lead in a game it won 5-4 over Texas.

Detroit more or less handed Raburn a job as the regular left fielder last winter after signing him to a two-year deal that avoided arbitration. Raburn barely hit .200 the first half of the season.

When Guillen returned from 11 months off the field, it put Raburn on the bench. Miguel Cabrera came back from ankle weakness to reclaim right field, and Brennan Boesch was patrolling the spot Raburn began the season in, left field.

Raburn is 9-for-24 (.375) since July 15 with two home runs, giving him 10 this season, and three RBI.

This is the third year in a row Raburn has turned in a poor first half, only to follow it up with a second half that’s as hot as the first one was cold. Leyland has been giving Raburn starts in left and at second.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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