Raburn, Kelly Among Third Base Options


Tigers incumbent third baseman Brandon Inge is said to be progressing well in his recovery from off-season surgery on both knees. Still, he will not be able to participate in games until at least the final two weeks of camp. In the meantime, once games begin next week, the Tigers will use an array of players to fill that spot including utilityman Don Kelly and displaced outfielder Ryan Raburn.

Joining those two in seeing work at the hot corner will be Ramon Santiago, Brent Dlugach and Non-roster invitees Kory Castro and Jeff Larish.

By all accounts, Inge should be ready for opening day, but if we learned nothing else last season, as Inge was struggling mightily with his knees, it’s that the Tigers have serious depth issues at third. Both Kelly and Raburn saw limited action there last season, but neither was overly impressive with the glove. Of course, compared to Inge, there are few players on any team that are overly impressive.

This team probably doesn’t need to find a guy that can play a bunch at third base, at least not this year, but if Inge suffers a setback in his recovery, or has another injury this season, having a guy that can do a passable job at third is paramount.

Factor in also that third base is probably the most bare position in terms of talent in the minor leagues for Detroit, and that Inge is a free agent at the end of this season, and you might find that a guy like Raburn or Larish could be auditioning for the starting spot a season from now.

UPDATE: The News’ Tom Gage tweets that Brent Dlugach packed on about 20 lbs this offseason and now looks much more like a corner infielder than a shortstop. Considering his 6’4″ frame, he was bound to fill out sooner or later.