Ryan Raburn is 31 years old with 1,632 plate appearances and a .750 OPS in the majors, but a brutal start this season has him back at Triple-A.
Detroit decided it had seen enough after Raburn hit just .146 with an ugly 35/8 K/BB ratio in 37 games split between second base and the outfield, demoting the veteran making $2.1 million this season.
Manager Jim Leyland stressed to Jason Beck of MLB.com that “this is not a punishment” for Raburn and added that “we have to try to get him going.”
Beck reports that Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth will likely share second base duties in Raburn’s absence and the Tigers called up journeyman catcher Omir Santos from Triple-A to fill his roster spot.
This isn’t the first time Raburn’s slow start has led to the Tigers sending him to the minors, and in the past he’s generally responded well to the temporary demotions. Or as Raburn put it: “It’s just a matter of getting it going and getting back.”
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.