Carlos Guillen’s slower than expected recovery from knee surgery has opened the door for Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes to compete for the Tigers’ starting job at second base, but Jason Beck of MLB.com writes that Ryan Raburn has emerged as a contender for the gig as well.
Raburn has never started more than 15 games in a season at second base and his defense there would likely be pretty ugly as an everyday player, but he has logged 377 career innings at the position and brings a lot more offensive upside than Sizemore or Rhymes.
Trading defense for offense certainly isn’t a decision unique to Detroit, but I’m not sure the Tigers really need to be doing that after adding Victor Martinez to a Miguel Cabrera-led lineup that was solidly above average in 2010. By playing Jhonny Peralta at shortstop they’re already committing to one sub par middle infield glove and pairing him with Raburn could be pretty ugly for a pitching staff that induced an above-average number of ground balls last year.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.