With Raburn unable to play at all on Wednesday and apparently nowhere close to being healthy enough to do so in the coming days, the Tigers made a rare September move, placing him on the 15-day disabled list.
Manager Jim Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand both said that Raburn will begin a rehab program in Florida to try to get back into playing shape. If he's ready, he'll play rehab games for the Tigers' Instructional League team with the possibility of being ready for a season-ending run.
From a practical standpoint, though, the logistics argue against that. Though the Tigers backdated Raburn's stint to Tuesday, the day after his ill-fated start against the White Sox, he still won't be eligible to be activated until the final week of the season -- and that's if everything goes right.
The strained quad was Raburn's original injury, dating back to his Minor League rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo. By playing through it, however, he apparently injured his right hip and tweaked his right hamstring, adding to his problems.
"There's no just sense sitting around up here," Leyland said. "This time of year, you're treating enough guys as it is, let alone somebody who can't play. He lives right there, so he can go over [to Lakeland] and rehab. If it gets right, he can get some at-bats and we'll see what happens. I don't know what else to say. He can't play."
The Tigers play seven of their final 10 games against the Royals, who had success pitting left-handers, such as starter Bruce Chen and reliever Tim Collins, against Detroit in a three-game sweep last month in Kansas City. However, Raburn is just 1-for-9 off Chen over the past two years.
If Raburn is shelved, the Tigers can replace him on the postseason roster with somebody who was on the 40-man roster, but not the 25-man roster, as of Aug. 31. Victor Martinez's injury also allows them that option, as does Daniel Schlereth's. Thus the Tigers could keep a September callup such as Danny Worth or Al Alburquerque. Avisail Garcia is already postseason-eligible, since he was called up before Sept. 1.
If Raburn's season is done, he'll finish with a .171 average, one home run, 14 doubles, 12 RBIs, 53 strikeouts and a .480 OPS. He's eligible for arbitration this winter, with his two-year, $3.4 million contract expiring, but the Tigers will have to decide how likely he is to make a turnaround before deciding whether to tender him a contract.