Friday, July 06, 2007

Neifi Perez suspended, Ryan Raburn Promoted

Neifi Perez has been suspended 25 games for use of a banned stimulant and has been replaced on the roster by outfielder Ryan Raburn. He is the second Tiger player along with Alex Sanchez to test positive for a banned substance. It's always a little surprising to hear that a player on your favorite team has been suspended but so many players of different abilities and levels have tested positive for banned substances, that is it shouldn't be a shock anymore.

It's interesting that Perez has been replaced on the roster with an outfielder rather than an infielder. If I had heard of the suspension before I knew that Raburn was being called up, I would have expected Ramon Santiago to get the call. However, Raburn is having an excellent year with the bat - .292/.394/.540 in 85 games for Toledo - and has played infield in the past. Raburn is 26 years old and bats right-handed. The Tigers tried to make an infielder out of him for years - first third base and then second base - but he was never a good defender. He was converted to outfield this year and reportedly is a decent defender and has even played some center field.

I'd like to see him get a chance to take the left field job from slumping Craig Monroe but I don't expect that to happen. He will likely be a backup outfielder including a platoon partner for Curtis Granderson. Omar Infante will probably be removed from outfield duties and be the primary backup infielder. Raburn also might play second or third base in an emergency.

Since Raburn was not on the 40 man roster, another move will have to be made to make room for him. Joel Zumaya or Vance Wilson could be transferred from the 15 day disabled list to the 60 day disabled list.

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