Teams are setting their 40-man rosters today in preparation for the Rule 5 draft and the Tigers cleared room by releasing veteran Ryan Raburn.
Raburn was drafted by Detroit in 2001 and has been with the Tigers since 2007, but that has included several demotions to the minors and a ghastly .171 batting average in 66 games as a big leaguer this year.
Raburn made $2.1 million this year and would have been arbitration eligible for the final time in 2013, so rather than keep him around for a similar price the Tigers decided to cut bait on the 31-year-old. He should be able to land a bench gig somewhere, although Raburn is a tweener in that he doesn’t hit well enough to man a corner outfield spot every day and doesn’t play defense well enough to be an asset elsewhere.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.