Slumping Raburn might lose more playing time

Slumping Raburn might lose more playing time

DETROIT -- When Tigers manager Jim Leyland moved Ryan Raburn to second base on close to a full-time basis three weeks ago, he said the season started over for him. Now, after hints that Raburn might be emerging from his six-week slump have faded, Leyland is still trying to get the right-handed power bat going, and even his patience might be waning on that.

Raburn's new season might be nearing a defining point soon.

"I think you just ride it out until you make some kind of decision -- play him more, play him less, whatever," Leyland said Wednesday. "I mean, we hit extra, we do all the things that everybody else does, so there's no secret formula for it. Just keep working at it and hope he catches fire. If he doesn't, you play somebody else."

That last part has already been starting to take place. A day after Ramon Santiago spelled Jhonny Peralta at shortstop, Santiago shifted over to second base for his fourth start there in Detroit's last seven games.

Raburn started five straight games at second during the last road trip to Chicago and Texas. Since then, he has started four out of Detroit's last eight games.

Leyland clearly hopes to still get Raburn going at the plate. But his comments about it Wednesday were a little more guarded than they were last week.

"What I've seen up to now, I've seen some [signs] where you get pretty optimistic, and then you have a setback," Leyland said. "It's like the old two steps forward, one back once in a while, it seems like. But he hasn't been taking that many steps forward, quite truthfully. Hopefully, he will."