Struggling Raburn sits with sore back

Struggling Raburn sits with sore back

OAKLAND -- Forget about trying to catch a break at the plate. Now Ryan Raburn can't loosen up his back, let alone his nerves.

Raburn's 0-for-4 performance at the plate Friday night included a ground ball in the shortstop hole that turned into a strong defensive play and a well-struck line drive right at right fielder Josh Reddick. Then Raburn went back to the hotel and his back locked up.

Raburn was available to pinch-hit Saturday if needed, and he took batting practice before the game, but manager Jim Leyland didn't want to risk putting him in the field for a start with the back still sore. It marked Raburn's first day out of the starting lineup since May 1.

"Is it absolutely necessary to do? No," Leyland said. "But you try to use common sense."

Danny Worth got the start at second base in Raburn's place Saturday night. He hadn't started in consecutive games since July 29-30, 2010, when he was helping fill in for an injured Brandon Inge.

Leyland said Raburn tweaked his back on a diving attempt in left field on Thursday night. He looked shaken for a second when he tried to rob Reddick of a home run on Friday night, but stayed in the game.

As for Raburn's hitting, the Friday's 0-for-4 dropped his batting average to .128, his lowest since April 26. Raburn has been alternating one-hit and no-hit nights for the past five games. Still, the better contact on Friday had Leyland slightly encouraged.

"He's actually swinging a little bit better," Leyland said.