DETROIT -- Ryan Raburn is set to begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday.
The outfielder/second baseman has been sidelined since Aug. 1 with a sprained right thumb and has been unable to grip a bat well enough to swing. However, the injury progressed to the point where he can begin taking some hacks with the Mud Hens.
During Raburn's absence the Tigers added a right-handed bat in outfielder Jeff Baker, so it's unclear what Raburn's role will be when he returns. In Toledo, though, the 31-year-old will continue to play left field, second base and, possibly, some first base "in case you want to get Fielder a rest," manager Jim Leyland said.
Raburn's struggles this season are well documented, as he is batting .172 with one home run and 12 RBIs in 63 games. He was sent to Toledo on May 29 and returned on June 14 to platoon against lefties.
Leyland's strategy appeared to be working, as Raburn posted a .321 average in June. But he followed that solid month by hitting .149 in July before the injury put him on the bench.
Leyland said on Tuesday that it doesn't matter where Raburn plays in the field with Toledo -- all that matters is how he approaches his plate appearances.
"The fact of the matter is, he has to swing the bat," Leyland said. "So it doesn't matter whether he's the DH or left field or first baseman, right field or second baseman. It's a matter of getting him to swing the bat."
Fister's rough start attributed to groin injury
DETROIT -- Right-hander Doug Fister matched his shortest outing of the season on Sunday, going just 3 2/3 innings and allowing seven runs in a 7-5 loss to the Orioles.
Apparently, it was due to more than just a bad day.
"We're a little worried about him. He's got a groin situation going on," manager Jim Leyland told the media prior to Tuesday's game against Toronto.
That groin injury, Fister confirmed, popped up before Sunday's contest even began. He was on the mound throwing his warmup pitches, and on his third throw, the right side of the groin tightened.
"I felt it a little bit early on, and it's just one of those things where you don't really think about it," Fister said. "Just kind of go through whatever you have to go through and pitch. We really didn't think too much about it. It ended up getting tight afterward, and we're addressing it and taking it day by day.
"It doesn't affect pushing off the rubber at all. ... That's why I was able to continue to pitch and be able to get through it."
This is the third injury Fister has had to deal with this season, as he's twice been placed on the disabled list with a strained right rib-cage muscle. He hopes to avoid another stint, but both he and Leyland acknowledged that it's unclear if he'll make Saturday's start vs. the Angels.
"I can't guess that," Fister said. "It's tight today, so we're treating it as we need to, and we're going to kind of play it by ear."
"We're wasting time right now," Leyland said. "Fister has a groin issue. We will have a pitcher, whether it's Fister or someone else for his next start. Period."
Fister said that he will throw at some point during the next few days to get a better assessment of where he stands regarding Saturday. But for now, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said the plan is for rest and treatment.
"It's just ice and [stimulation] at this point until we get him more comfortable," Rand said. "It's tightened up right now; the soreness isn't any different than what it was. Once we get through that initial part, we'll start working heat and trying to work through it."
Drew Smyly had been scheduled to pitch the second game of a doubleheader for the Mud Hens on Tuesday night but was pulled after one scoreless inning. It's likely the move was precautionary, as he would be the one to replace Fister if needed. Had Smyly thrown longer on Tuesday night, he would have been on four days' rest for Saturday.
Cabrera raises $200,000 for youth programs
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera helped raise more than $200,000 for youth baseball and children's health programs through the Detroit Tigers Foundation, the Miguel Cabrera Foundation and area children's hospitals thanks to the fourth annual Keeping Kids in the Game event at Comerica Park, held on Monday night.
The event, started by former Tigers Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge, began as a way to raise money by hosting fans for an evening at the ballpark. Cabrera has picked up the cause over the past couple of years.
Proceeds from the event go to support programs facilitated by the Children's Hospital of Michigan as well as the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. As part of the event, nearly 200 patients from the two hospitals were treated to a night at the ballpark.
Cy-ber Young to throw Wednesday's first pitch
DETROIT -- If Tigers ever need some pitching help, they might want to give "Cy-ber Young" a call.
Cy-ber Young, standing all of 32 inches and weighing in at 200 pounds, is an aluminum-and-steel robot -- created and designed by 20 high school students and their adult mentors -- that will throw the ceremonial first pitch before Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays.
Its most dangerous weapon? The triple-digit heater. Although the robot will throw a bit slower than that to whomever receives the ball, its fastball can be boosted to 100 mph.
Novi High School took the lead on the project, assisted by Troy, Bishop Foley, Waterford-Kettering and Monroe County high schools. All are a part of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, an organization that allows adults to work with teens to show how much fun engineering, math, science and technology can be.
FIRST stages a nationwide competition that kicks off the first weekend in January. There are 10 events in Michigan, enabling teams to compete twice within the state before the state championship, where they will try to make the 18-team national finals.
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.