DETROIT — He’s back!
The Detroit Tigers’ front office made a phone call to Toledo and brought up utility player Ryan Rayburn from the Mud Hens, Thursday June 14, 2012 just in time for Rayburn to suit up and face the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland says that Rayburn’s role will be a part time player and being able to produce and help the Tigers pick up wins.
“I’ll be frank, it’s not as if Rayburn went down there and tore it up,” Leyland said about Rayburn’s return. “He’ll have to do something, though. He’s not going to be the every-day second baseman. I’ll play him like I think he plays best, which is probably part time.”
Leading to his demotion to Toledo, Rayburn left behind a .146 batting average and in Toledo Rayburn’s average is a whopping .194 but after Rayburn’s contribution against the Cubs perhaps he is warming up and following his character.
Rayburn contributed to Justin Verlander’s 5-3 victory Thursday afternoon by hitting a double that scored two runs that brought a smile to Rayburn’s face.
“It gives us more versatility but don’t get me wrong, Leyland said. “As I said, because people probably think we’re crazy, he’ll have to do something.”
Rayburn replaces rookie starting pitcher Drew Smyly who make his first trip to the 15 day disable list because of a blister on his middle finger that force Smyly out of his last start in Cincinnati.
Rayburn’s name appeared on the lineup card Friday night as the Tigers open a three game series against the Colorado Rockies at Comerica Park, he started in left field.
“We looked around but we just don’t have a right-handed bat,” Leyland said. “We’re just starving badly for a right-hand batter. “We get too dominate left-handed when Alex and Dirks get back. He (Rayburn) is a very useable player for us.”
Rayburn hit a double in five at bats but the Tigers allowed eight runs in the 10th inning and the Rockies defeated the Tigers and Jose Valverde 12-4 and sent the 41,878 home shaking their collective head together and describing the Tigers’ relief pitcher Valverde in a non flattering tone.
After the game the Tigers sent Friday night’s starting pitcher Casey Crosby and outfielder Matt Young back down to Toledo and called up Doug Fister and Thad Weber.
Cosby just lasted 3 2/3 innings giving up four earned runs and six hits before Leyland pulled him from the game and replaced Crosby with middle relief pitcher Duane Below.
Rayburn sat on top of his stool all alone in front of his locker inside the Tiger’s clubhouse with all of the roster changes being announced, the rocket’s red glare of the fireworks exploding outside and he silently took a breath of relief as he prepared to go home and return Saturday for another game in the major league.