BOSTON -- The overnight mystery that was Ryan Raburn's replacement on the Tigers' 25-man roster turned out to have an anticlimactic ending. It also brought Omir Santos back to the big leagues for what will likely be a short stay until Austin Jackson returns from the disabled list.
Essentially, Santos is an insurance player that allows manager Jim Leyland to use one catcher at designated hitter and another behind the plate when he needs it. However, Gerald Laird wasn't the DH'ing catcher anybody would've had in mind. He got the start Wednesday as Leyland tried to stack up right-handed hitters against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.
Raburn, of course, is a right-handed hitter, but Detroit had decided Tuesday that he needed to go to Triple-A Toledo. Finding another right-handed hitter to replace him, Leyland said, was a losing proposition.
"We just didn't have a right-handed hitter [down there]," Leyland said. "We searched and searched throughout to get one, but we just didn't have one. This was a move that made the most sense."
The club has right-handed hitters at Triple-A Toledo, including brief Tigers callup Brad Eldred and onetime prospect Ryan Strieby. When asked about Eldred, however, Leyland said, "We didn't feel that was the answer."
Thus, they'll go with Laird.
"Until we get Jackson back, I'll DH Laird maybe against left-handed pitching," Leyland said. "That way I'll be protected with an extra catcher in case something happened with Alex catching."
While it would seem to make more sense to use Alex Avila at DH and Laird behind the plate, there's an advantage to having it the other way around. With Laird as the DH, the Tigers have an easier time pinch-hitting for him against a right-handed reliever without having to pull Santos into action.