Though he is hitting just .240 with 11 homers and 40 RBIs in 102 games this season, Raburn has been an integral part of the Tigers' success.
He has split the majority of his time this season between left field and second base, but Raburn has also seen time at four other positions, including right field, where he has filled in lately with Brennan Boesch sidelined by a thumb injury.
Just more than 25 minutes into Leyland's meeting with reporters Sunday morning -- and not long after Leyland finished talking about Raburn's value to the club -- Raburn arrived, bat in hand. Leyland wanted to see how Raburn's finger was feeling before deciding between him and Ramon Santiago at second base.
"Raburn!" Leyland shouted from his office. "What's up, Raburn?"
Peeking his head in, Raburn responded: "What's goin' on?"
"Come on in, let me see ya," Leyland answered.
Leyland examined Raburn's noticeably swollen finger and asked him how it felt.
As Raburn tried to grip the bat he had been carrying, it was clear he could not bend the injured finger enough to be effective. Unfazed, Raburn was intent on heading straight to the batting cage to test it.
"If you're not going to put it on the bat, that's not a good idea," Leyland said.
"Well, I'm going to go see if I can try it," Raburn responded, not wanting the injury to keep him out of the lineup.
But Leyland had already made his decision. He told Raburn he was not going to play him Sunday afternoon before he even went to attempt to swing the bat.
"What I want you to do is get the thing taken care of today," Leyland said. "All day long, get it treated. Two or three treatments. I can't afford to lose you, but I'm not going to put you through that if it's going to be that sore today. Hopefully get the thing ready for tomorrow or the next day."
Nevertheless, Raburn tested his injured finger in the batting cage before the game but said he was "pulling off the ball."