DETROIT -- The fans at Comerica Park for Saturday night's matchup between the Tigers and White Sox were close to seeing outfielder/second baseman Ryan Raburn back in the Tigers' starting lineup for the first time since July 29.
Raburn returned Saturday as one of the team's September callups and given his recent success with Triple-A Toledo, where he hit three home runs in the span of four games, and his experience (5-for-20) against lefty Francisco Liriano, manager Jim Leyland nearly penciled him in.
What stopped Leyland was a a right quad injury Raburn experienced rounding third base and scoring a run for the Mud Hens a couple of nights ago.
"Had Raburn been 100 percent, he's hit four, five home runs down there, he's hit left-handed pitching real good, he would've been an option tonight," Leyland said. "But he's not an option as we speak because the quad's still sore."
Raburn was back in the clubhouse Saturday. The 31-year-old went from raking in the Minors and gaining confidence for another shot with the Tigers to being put on rest and receiving treatment.
"It seems like it never ends right now," Raburn said. "I was feeling good, getting some results and feeling good about myself and then [the quad] wants to do that. It's just been frustrating this whole year pretty much."
Raburn said he would test out the quad prior to Saturday's game in hopes he could be available for Sunday's series finale. He is 2-for-8 against left-hander Chris Sale, Sunday's White Sox starter, in his career and both of those hits went for extra bases -- a double and home run -- so it's very possible, if healthy, he'll be in there Sunday.
Reinforcements add depth to bench
DETROIT -- The Tigers added utility players Danny Worth, Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly, reliever Luis Marte and catcher Bryan Holaday as September callups on Saturday.
Reliever Al Alburquerque will be called up on Sunday, the first day he's eligible to be recalled from Toledo.
Kelly, who was outrighted to Toledo last month, takes the 40-man roster spot of Jeff Baker, who was designated for assignment on Friday -- and later dealt to Atlanta -- to create a 25-man roster spot for Avisail Garcia, who was called up Friday.
The 40-man roster is now full, and top prospect Nick Castellanos isn't on it. So unless the Tigers designate somebody, Castellanos, the All-Star Futures Game MVP in July but a .193 hitter in August, is not getting called up.
Technically, Raburn isn't a callup. He was activated from the 15-day disabled list. He had been in Toledo on rehab assignment and batted 9-for-29 (.310) with three home runs and nine RBIs. The question now is whether he can translate that to the big leagues.
Raburn said Wednesday that he hasn't done anything different with his swing or his approach since going out on rehab; it's more a matter of being healthy and seeing pitches better. His sprained right thumb also isn't a problem.
Kelly adds another versatile position player, though it remains to be seen how he'll be used if Garcia is going to be a defensive replacement in the outfield. Kelly batted .233 (17-for-73) in 20 games with the Hens.
Marte showed flashes of effectiveness at the deep end of the Detroit bullpen from the end of May through mid-July. The right-hander allowed seven runs on 16 hits over 17 1/3 innings, with seven walks and 14 strikeouts. Three rough outings -- a bad setup appearance on June 10 at Cincinnati, a two-homer 10th inning on June 15 against the Rockies, and a four-walk performance on July 2 against the Twins -- accounted for the bulk of the damage.
Manager Jim Leyland did not rule out the possibility that Detroit will add another player or two once the Minor League season ends after Labor Day.
Going to big leagues old hat for Worth
DETROIT -- Most Minor League players get a unique sendoff from their manager when they're being told they're getting called to the big leagues. Danny Worth, now in his sixth stint with the Tigers this year, is past that.
Worth was running at third base in a game earlier this season when Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin, who was coaching at third, told him nonchalantly he was heading up to Detroit again. This time, he had just been hit on the arm by a pitch when he was pulled from the game, given a handshake and told by Nevin he was a September callup.
"Nevin jokes with me the most about it," Worth said. "There's been some times where he's like, 'You're going back up tomorrow again, all right?' And I'm like, 'OK.' Most of the time, he'll call guys in the office and congratulate them and stuff, or do something funny."
This call wasn't a shock. The Tigers under Jim Leyland's watch have always called up an extra infielder to give them flexibility in extra innings or in case of injury. Worth has played shortstop, second and third base, so he fills a gap.
He probably won't get many starts, maybe not any, but it's the big leagues. Considering he was being chased by rams earlier this week at Fifth Third Field, it beats the alternative.
Yes, a ram. Thursday's Mud Hens game included a visit by Team Ghost Riders, a group of monkeys dressed as cowboys riding sheep dogs. Their act is that they herd small rams on the field between innings. Worth was warming up when he crossed paths with a couple of them.
"They were chasing me," Worth said. "There were two that were looking me right in the eye and then they chased me."
Smyly adjusting to new role out of bullpen
DETROIT -- According to Tigers manager Jim Leyland, left-hander Drew Smyly has been through it all in his rookie year.
On top of competing for and winning a spot in a big league rotation, the 23-year-old has made 24 starts between the Majors (17) and Triple-A (7), spent time on the disabled list, and Friday he debuted as a reliever in the Tigers' 7-4 win against Chicago.
It was his first relief appearance in the Majors and second of his professional career, and it didn't go quite as planned. The southpaw entered in the sixth inning with a one-run lead intending to retire lefties Dewayne Wise and Adam Dunn, but walked the pair and was responsible for the game-tying run.
"My first batter, I probably had my adrenaline rushing a little more than usual," Smyly said. "It took me a little while to get my feel going. I walked [Wise] on four, five pitches I think. After that, I settled down and I fought through well, it's just I had that long at-bat with Dunn."
It was a 10-pitch at-bat against Dunn in which Smyly originally had him 0-2, but the White Sox slugger fouled off four pitches and took some close ones to earn the walk. Leyland said he knows it will be an adjustment for Smyly, but thinks the lefty reliever is a valuable commodity to have down the stretch.
"I think the biggest thing for Smyly -- and I talked to [pitching coach Jeff Jones] about this last night, which they talked to him about and the guys in the bullpen have talked to him about -- is learn how to warm up in a bullpen situation as opposed to a starting situation," Leyland said. "That's kind of important. He'll get acclimated to that."
Leyland also said that while he hopes Smyly can settle into a bullpen role for the final month or two, he still envisions him as a starter in the future.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.