It’s safe to say that Ryan Raburn stole the show from the all of MLB on Thursday. Not only did the Cleveland Indians‘ utilityman sign a two-year extension with the Tribe, he also made his first ever appearance on a major-league mound!
In a shocking turn of events, the Detroit Tigers released Raburn in November of 2012 after the former fifth-round pick had been in the Motor City since 2004. Rather than sit around and feel sorry for himself, Raburn buckled down and figured he’d stick it to his old team and decided to sign with the divisional-rival Indians in January. However, Cleveland hardly gave the 32-year old a starting gig as the versatile Raburn was slotted as a back up by most in spring training.
Instead of accepting the reserve role, the ex-Tigers outfielder/infielder forced the issue and it landed him a starting job, in which Raburn has flourished — the Indians’ slugger has nailed 13 home runs and currently has a .277 batting average.
As for Raburn’s hidden pitching talent?
Cleveland was trialing Detroit 10-2 in the top of the ninth inning and rather than waste a much-needed bullpen arm, Indians manager Terry Francona decided to give Raburn the ball on Thursday night. Perhaps, he was still juiced over his shiny new contract, but the utilityman pitched a perfect frame for the Tribe! Maybe there is a clause in Raburn’s contract that demands he pitches at least an inning each season?