DETROIT -- Ryan Raburn is set to begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday.
The outfielder/second baseman has been sidelined since Aug. 1 with a sprained right thumb and has been unable to grip a bat well enough to swing. However, the injury progressed to the point where he can begin taking some hacks with the Mud Hens.
During Raburn's absence the Tigers added a right-handed bat in outfielder Jeff Baker, so it's unclear what Raburn's role will be when he returns. In Toledo, though, the 31-year-old will continue to play left field, second base and, possibly, some first base "in case you want to get Fielder a rest," manager Jim Leyland said.
Raburn's struggles this season are well documented, as he is batting .172 with one home run and 12 RBIs in 63 games. He was sent to Toledo on May 29 and returned on June 14 to platoon against lefties.
Leyland's strategy appeared to be working, as Raburn posted a .321 average in June. But he followed that solid month by hitting .149 in July before the injury put him on the bench.
Leyland said on Tuesday that it doesn't matter where Raburn plays in the field with Toledo -- all that matters is how he approaches his plate appearances.
"The fact of the matter is, he has to swing the bat," Leyland said. "So it doesn't matter whether he's the DH or left field or first baseman, right field or second baseman. It's a matter of getting him to swing the bat."