DETROIT —- The old saying goes a change of scenery might be something that is a good thing.
For utility player Ryan Raburn the change could not come quickly enough for him and it came just in the nick of time, after he contributed nothing to the Detroit Tigers 6-3 defeat to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Rayburn’s contribution to the Detroit Tigers this season is described by some Tiger faithful by using some rather colorful and strong adult language.
Detroit Tiger manager Jim Leyland said it was the only thing that the Tigers could do, so Wednesday morning Raburn packed his bag for the city that breathes life into the Maumee River and is the home of the Mud Hens.
Raburn’s batting average dropped to an embarrassing .146 with one home run and seven RBI’s. He struggled in the field too, his range at second base was questionable and his arm in left field made him a liability.
Raburn started 35 games this season and he is a known to start slow during the first few weeks of the season, the Tigers were hoping that he did not fall into old habits and step up to the plate.
The experiment to play Raburn at second base failed to produce any kind production either with the glove or with the bat – the Tigers gave Rayburn plenty of chances to succeed, something positive but he failed.
“This is not a punishment, we just have to get him going,” Leyland said. “But we’re just beating a dead horse. This just isn’t working.”
The more Raburn tried and the more mistakes seem to happen to him and when he stood three times in the batter box against the Red Sox and watched strike three float across the plate Leyland and Raburn had seen enough to know Raburn needed some help.
Raburn did not win any support from the fans in the city of Detroit; he rapidly replaced Brandon Inge as a player that the fans love to hate.
Raburn does have a habit of hitting the ball with consistency starting around the first of July but last season’s success did not help with his popularity, Leyland and Raburn could not afford to wait for Raburn or the weather to warm up.
Raburn found his stroke after the 2011 All-Star Game for the Tigers finishing the season with 14 home runs and a batting average of .256 in 121 games.
Raburn started his spring workouts in Lakeland, Florida inheriting the second base position, when camp broke and the team moved north he was tied with the team’s lead of six home runs but he could not recover from a start 2 for 31 at the plate for the Tigers.
He departed Comerica Park without any kind of temper tantrum or any kind of drama; he arrived in Toledo with an opportunity to work on his swing.
“As good as you feel sometimes, up there (in the majors) it’s all about results,” Raburn said after his first game with Toledo. “It doesn’t matter if you hit the ball great four times, if you make four outs things can go south pretty fast.”
“I’ve been in a slump before and it’s nothing I can’t get out of. But it was frustrating to feel as great as I did early and not having any success,” Raburn said. “Honestly, I’ve been worse. I don’t feel that bad but the results weren’t there.”
Raburn debut with the Mud Hens was a continuation of his struggle at the plate he went hitless with three appearances at the plate against Buffalo.
“It’s a long season and you go through ups and downs. I’ve had my downs early and I’m ready to start swinging (the bat) the way I know I can,” Raburn said.
And the average Tiger and Toledo Mud Hens fans are now waiting for you to swing the bat too!