Leyland admits should have played struggling Raburn less: 'I screwed that up'
Raburn, who was promised the left field starting job last spring training, only to move into the second base rotation on the team's first West Coast trip, was tabbed the starting second baseman early this season. That pronouncement came shortly after the team ended the Brandon Inge Second Base Experiment, releasing the veteran infielder at the end of April.
And, in retrospect, putting those kind of expectations on Raburn may have been a bad move on manager Jim Leyland's part, he now admits.
"I gotta just play him right. I screwed that up. He got overwhelmed when I told him he was going to play most of the time. I think he just got overwhelmed. ... In his defense, I think I just overwhelmed him a little bit," said Leyland, who has seen an improvement since Raburn's return from Triple-A Toledo late last week, but won't yet say he's out of the woods.
"If he gets hot, I’ll play him. If he hits like he did in the second half, he’ll be in the lineup. I’m talking about just trying to get him going. I probably should’ve done that to start with. I probably screwed it up," said Leyland, who was then asked the follow-up if he meant he'd played Raburn too much. "I just think the mental part of, ‘OK, you’re the guy now.’ He got like a deer in the headlights look. Probably all kinds of (crap) going through his mind, like ‘Well, I’m a slow starter,’ ... ‘Now I’m playing all the time.’ I probably screwed it up.’ "