DETROIT -- Ryan Raburn might well be getting his long-awaited chance with the Tigers.
Raburn, who is enjoying an All-Star season for Triple-A Toledo, told reporters after the Mud Hens game Thursday night at Fifth Third Field that he has received the call from the Tigers to join the big league club. He started Thursday's game for Toledo in center field before being removed for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.
No announcement was made on a roster move Thursday night, either at Toledo or in Detroit. Any move would likely come Friday afternoon prior to the Tigers' series opener against the Red Sox.
A trip to the big leagues would be the next step to an eye-opening season for Raburn, who has emerged from a near-forgotten prospect to a potential utility infield and outfield option in the Majors. The 26-year-old, now in his seventh Minor League season, is batting .292 in 85 games for the Mud Hens with 17 home runs, 21 doubles and 64 RBIs. He also has drawn 51 walks, helping him to a .394 on-base percentage, and stolen 12 bases in 16 attempts.
Raburn made an impression on the parent club during Spring Training, when he hit .400 with three doubles, a home run and seven RBIs in limited playing time as a non-roster invitee. The Tigers sent him down late in camp with the idea of working him out in the outfield. Through Thursday, the converted infielder had made 45 starts in center field, 39 in left.
Since Raburn is not on the 40-man roster, the Tigers would have to purchase his contract in order to bring him to the big leagues. That part would not involve a major decision, since the Tigers could move catcher Vance Wilson or reliever Joel Zumaya from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL retroactively.
Raburn's only Major League experience to date came in 12 games with the Tigers as a September callup at the end of the 2004 season.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.