Leyland gives Raburn day off for finale

Leyland gives Raburn day off for finale

DETROIT -- The Tigers' matchup with Rockies right-hander Jeremy Guthrie earned Ryan Raburn Sunday's game off after three consecutive starts.

Raburn's 4-for-11 performance with two doubles in those games earned some questions as to whether he might finally be hitting the groove the Tigers have been waiting for.

The answer from manager Jim Leyland sounded hopeful, but far from definitive.

"He's better, more relaxed," Leyland said. "I mean, he's not home free yet, but he's better. I have to just play him right."

That means not putting Raburn into spots where he could struggle. If he heats up at the plate and goes on a midseason tear, as he has the last few years, he'll be playing quite a bit, but Leyland won't be doing that just to do it.

"If he gets like he did the second half [last year], he'll be in the lineup," Leyland said. "I'm talking about just trying to get him going, I probably shouldn't have done that. I probably screwed that up."

The Tigers will face three right-handed starters in their upcoming series against the Cardinals.