Odd move: Tigers place Ryan Raburn on 15-day disabled list

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This being September, there’s absolutely no advantage to be gained by placing a player on the 15-day disabled list. Yet that’s what the Tigers did Thursday, placing Ryan Raburn on the DL with a strained right quad.

Typically, teams only use the 60-day disabled list in September, as stashing a player there frees up a 40-man roster spot. Putting a player on the 15-day DL doesn’t do anything except guarantee that said player can’t be used for 15 days. Which would seem to be precisely what Dave Dombrowski wanted to accomplish here.

Raburn is hitting a horrendous .171/.226/.254 with one homer and 12 RBI in 205 at-bats. He’s also a subpar defensively at second base, the position he’s played more frequently this season. So it’s easy to see why upper management apparently doesn’t want him anywhere near the field.

Manager Jim Leyland, however, had given him two starts since he was brought back from the minors on Sept. 1. He was 1-for-7 with a walk in those two games, both Tigers losses. Overall, he was 1-for-8 this month.

The move was made retroactive to Sept. 11, so Raburn will be eligible to return on Sept. 26. However, his Tigers career is most likely finished. He figures to be non-tendered this winter after such a disappointing season.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.