Saturday, May 22, 2010

Raburn Recalled, Who's Next?

The Tigers recalled Ryan Raburn from triple-A Toledo today and returned Casper Wells to the same club.  Raburn, who was sent down 10 ten days ago to make room for a 13th pitcher, had 12 hits and six doubles in 27 at bats for the MudHens.  With pitchers batting this weekend against the Dodgers, we may see Raburn as pinch hitter in the series.  After that, there is a good chance he'll eventually platoon with Brennan Boesch.  Boesch has been outstanding since his recall but has not hit well versus left-handers historically.

Wells has two hits in nine at bats as a Tiger but isn't being sent down for performance.  The Tigers would love to be able use his defensive skills off the bench but it is better to let him get regular at bats in the minors.  He was called up temporarily because Raburn needed to stay in the minors for at least ten days. 

So, what's next?  Carlos Guillen will play second base as he starts a rehab assignment with the MudHens today.  If there are no setbacks, we can probably expect him back with the Tigers by next weekend.  He will be replaced by either Don Kelly or Danny Worth. 

Kelly is a little better hitter than Worth but neither will be kept for his bat.  Kelly's value defensively is that he can play outfield as well as infield.  On a team with a more than one below average outfielder, he is often used as a defensive replacement in late innings. 

The reason Worth has a chance to stick is that he's an excellent defensive middle infielder and can play also play third base.  With the brittle Guillen taking over at second base and Adam Everett hitting below the Mendoza line, some extra flexibility in the infield would be useful.  Odds are Kelly will stay though because can back-up in both the infield and outfield, even if he doesn't field as well as Worth.

Another player to watch his Max Scherzer, who was excellent in his first start for Toledo.  He pitched eight shutout innings allowing just one hit and one walk with ten strikeouts.  More important are the reports that he adjusted his arm slot and increased his velocity copared to his starts with the Tigers.  If things continue to go well, he won't be in the minors for long.

If Scherzer forces a return to the majors, who would he replace?  I would think that Dontrelle Willis is on a short leash.  While the results have not been awful, his velocity and control have deteriorated in recent starts.  Most of his fast balls were under 88 MPH last night and his command was not good.  With two off days this week, his next start will almost surely be skipped.  There is no need for a fifth starter until June 1 and it's possible that Scherzer will be ready by then. 

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