Detroit announced tonight that Ryan Raburn has been optioned to Triple-A Toledo. This is his last option. No corresponding move has been announced. It's hard to picture what exactly would make sense, either. Feel free to speculate.
Manager Jim Leyland told the media, via Fox Sports Detroit's broadcast:
"You have to understand this is not a punishment. We have to try to get him going. He's gone down before, come back and helped us a lot. That's what happens. He has to go down and get that swing going, rejoin us and help us like the last couple of years.
"Right now it's like beating a dead horse. It's not working. I actually think he's relieved a little bit. He knows that he needs to do this. So you look at this as a positive thing."
Raburn has a .146 average, .209 on-base percentage and .211 slugging average for the season. He has not had a lot of baseball luck. After a poor April overall, his line drive rate in May remains pretty steady at 18.2 percent, but it hasn't resulted in any more hits falling in than dropped in first month of the year. More recently Raburn has seen a dramatic upswing in his strikeout rate. He picked up three of them in Monday's game -- though to be fair not all the strike three pitches he watched go by were actually in the strike zone.
But ultimately, second base is a problem for the Tigers and the only second baseman with any potential is Raburn. The Tigers simply must get him started. It wasn't working in the big leagues, so they had no choice but to go a different direction.
On Twitter, MLB.com's Jason Beck notes that the corresponding move will almost certainly not be a second baseman. Leyland said Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth will get most of the time at the position in Raburn's absence.