DETROIT -- Heading into his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, it didn't necessarily matter what position Tigers outfielder/second baseman Ryan Raburn played, just that he began getting results at the plate.
At least that's what was most important for Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
"The fact of the matter is, he has to swing the bat," the skipper said on Tuesday. "So it doesn't matter whether he's the DH or left field or first baseman, right field of second baseman. It's a matter of getting him to swing the bat."
In his first game with the Mud Hens, Raburn did just that, going 3-for-5 with a double, home run, four RBIs and a run scored as Toledo defeated the Columbus Clippers, 8-3.
Obviously, it's only one game, but it strongly suggests that the 31-year-old, who posted a .172 batting average in 63 games in the Majors this year, has recovered from a sprained right thumb that has sidelined him since Aug. 1.
Leyland mentioned nothing Thursday morning of a timetable for Raburn's return to the club. With the addition of right-handed bat Jeff Baker from the Cubs, it's also unclear what Raburn's role will be upon his return.
However, if Raburn can find sustained success in the Minors and show that he's regained some of last year's second-half form -- when he hit .341 from the All-Star break until the end of the season -- his bat could be useful down the stretch once rosters expand in September.