DETROIT -- Danny Worth was on deck in the ninth inning Sunday when Alex Avila hit a comebacker for the third out. That's the way things have been going for the utility infielder, who hasn't had a plate appearance since June 15, which was also his last start.
Worth was optioned to Triple-A Toledo Monday night when the Tigers had to fortify their bullpen ahead of Duane Below's spot start Tuesday in place of injured Max Scherzer.
On Sunday, Worth replaced Ryan Raburn in the bottom of the seventh inning after Raburn batted in the top half. Manager Jim Leyland explained Worth's role earlier Sunday.
"Worth is our utility player," Leyland said. "He's going to pinch-run. He might go in for defense. That's what he is. There's not a lot of at-bats for him right now, but he's valuable, because he can pinch-run late in the game for [Jhonny] Peralta, he can pinch-run for [Ramon] Santiago if you need him to. If you make a switch, he can play.
"There's not many at-bats for your utility infielder when you have Raburn, who can play second, and Santiago, who can play short and second. That's just the way it is. So he just has to stay ready the best he can."
Worth had a share of starts at second base in late May and early June while Raburn was in the Minor Leagues. Since then, however, Santiago has taken the bulk of starts at second, with Raburn getting some starts against left-handed pitching since his return nearly three weeks ago.