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Tigers ship slumping Raburn to minors

The Sports Xchange
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They may be struggling, but they're not standing still.

The Tigers dropped three games under .500 again Tuesday with a second straight loss at Boston, 6-3.

After slipping to 23-26, the Tigers announced they were optioning veteran Ryan Raburn back to Class AAA Toledo to work out his hitting problems.

Second base has been the one big problem position for Detroit this season, with the Tigers getting the lowest production in the majors at the position. Brandon Inge was tried briefly and then designated for assignment, and he was picked up by Oakland after he cleared waivers.

"There's been too many dead spots in our lineup so far this year," manager Jim Leyland said. "We show signs of breaking out of it at times, but we just haven't done it consistently."

Now Raburn has been sent to the minors in hopes he can get started on his traditional hot second half at little sooner this year. This is the third straight season Raburn has not hit in the first half, but this year's figures -- .146, one home run and seven RBI -- are especially appalling.

The Tigers have a move to make to replace Raburn on the active roster but won't announce it until Wednesday. Unless a trade or waiver pickup is made, they will make do in the short term with a juggling of Ramon Santiago, Tuesday's starter, and Danny Worth, Monday's starter, at second base.

"I just spoke with him," Leyland said of Raburn. "You have to understand this is not a punishment. We gotta try to get him going. He's gone before and got it going, come back and helped us a lot.

"We're hoping he'll go down and get that swing going and at some point rejoin us so that he can help us like he has the last couple of years. Right now, it's just we're beating a dead horse. I actually think he's relieved a little bit."

Sending Raburn out could also be a signal the Tigers are now actively searching for a more viable option for second base.

Detroit has no minor league hot-shots who play second, at least none who is closer than two or three years from being ready.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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