DETROIT -- When Ryan Raburn last played in Comerica Park on May 20, his then .144 batting average earned him a chorus of boos each time he stepped to the plate. That wasn't going to stop manager Jim Leyland from inserting Raburn into the lineup for Friday's opener against the Rockies.
"If I think he's going to do good then I'm not going to [sit] him because I think he's going to get booed," said Leyland, who had Raburn batting seventh and starting in left field. "I'm going to play him because I think he can help us win games. I'm playing him tonight because I think he can help us win this game."
The Tigers were facing Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis, against whom Raburn was 3-for-10 with a home run in his career. However, the numbers weren't the deciding factor for Leyland. The skipper said the team was "starving" for another right-handed-hitter.
"We looked around but we just figured, right now, for us this is the best-case scenario," he said. "And he's going to do something. He did something yesterday [that was] pretty good."
In his first at-bat upon returning to the Majors, Raburn hit an RBI double off Cubs lefty Travis Wood. Leyland said that the Tigers fans, which basically took over Wrigley Field, went from booing to "screaming their butts off."
Leyland didn't know if Raburn would get booed in his return, but he said as long as the team wins -- as it has in four of its past six games -- his starting left fielder will be OK.
"It doesn't have anything to do with Ryan Raburn," Leyland said. "It's just people get ticked off when you don't win."