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.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.