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Was Calling Up Cameron Maybin the Right Move?

Jim Leyland says Cameron Maybin won't play very much once Gary Sheffield returns to the lineup.

"I doubt there will be a lot of starts the rest of this time," said Leyland of Maybin. "You might play him in center field, maybe against a lefty -- maybe they'll be a matchup. But he'll probably do some pinch running, maybe things like that."

So can we now ask whether or not calling Maybin up to the majors three weeks ago was the right move? He's played in just 13 of a possible 14 games, and in a handful of those appearances, merely entered the game as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. Is that really best for Maybin's development? Or would he have been better served by continuing to crush Double-A pitching, perhaps aid the Mud Hens in their playoff drive, and maybe play some left field in the process?

Would it have been too embarrassing to send Maybin back down to the minors once the decision was made to add Timo Perez to the major league roster? Were the Tigers worrying about affecting the kid's confidence with such a move?

But isn't that essentially what the Tigers did anyway, by sitting Maybin on the bench while Perez gets playing time in right and left field? The message is basically the same: We don't think you're ready yet.

Calling Maybin up to the majors after his minor league team has finished its season is one thing. Being in a major league clubhouse and dugout, while getting the occasional start - along with pinch-hitting and defensive appearances - would provide some valuable learning experiences, as well as dangle a carrot in front of a prospect hungry to get the call to the show. But bringing him up and playing him right away, only to then make him a bench player, makes it look as if the Tigers' management got caught up in the excitement of having a top prospect put up big numbers, and impulsively thought he could be the answer to their problems in left field.

The Tigers have been patient - to a fault - with much of their major league roster all season. So why did they make a move that now seems to reek of panic?

Drew Sharp looks at the decreased attendance at Comerica Park (last night: 32,505) and thinks fans have begun to write off the season.

I agree that a lot of Tigers fans have already - or are ready to - give up on their team's chances this season. But I also wouldn't dismiss the beginning of the school year as much as Sharp does, either. The same thing happened last September when the Tigers were a first place team (with a presumably healthy four-game lead). There were large pockets of empty seats, especially in the upper deck. I don't know if the same thing happens in other cities, but it's always happened in Detroit.

Curtis Granderson is an ESPN.com star today. Not only did Tim Kurkjian's feature on him make the front page of ESPN's MLB index, he also hosted a chat earlier this afternoon.