05/03/2013 6:50 PM ET
Raburn rewarding Francona's confidence
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Upon his hiring as Indians manager, one of the first conversations Terry Francona had with general manager Chris Antonetti revolved around a guy who batted .171 with one home run last season for the Tigers.
Francona mentioned that should the Tigers cut Ryan Raburn loose, his new organization would be wise to consider adding him. Antonetti was on the same page.
The Tigers released Raburn on Nov. 20, a little more than a month after Francona took over as Cleveland's skipper. When Spring Training rolled around, Raburn was in Indians camp with a Minor League contract.
"We called him right away," Francona said. "He got off to a really rough start last year and it kind of snowballed on him. He's got a nice, short stroke. He looked to me like he could be a really good guy to come off the bench."
The move has paid dividends for the Tribe. At last, Raburn's strong spring numbers have carried over into the regular season. He batted .341 with five homers in Cactus League play. Entering Friday's contest, Raburn had compiled a .364 average with four homers and 10 RBIs in 16 games.
Thursday's off-day interrupted a 12-for-14 stretch that includes all four of his homers and a barrage of hits in seven consecutive at-bats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Raburn is the fourth player in the last 75 years with at least 11 hits and four homers in a three-game span, joining Duke Snider, Kirby Puckett and Shawn Green.
Raburn is the first Major Leaguer since Kevin Kouzmanoff in August 2009 to collect 11 hits in a span of 12 at-bats, according to Elias. The 32-year-old Raburn, who identifies himself as a "streaky" hitter, said he has never had a stretch like this.
"Not to this extent," Raburn said. "I'm just really focusing on trying to have good, quality at-bats and I'm not really worried about the results. The results right now are falling in."
Carrera returns after brief stint in Philly
CLEVELAND -- Ezequiel Carrera, the human boomerang, has returned to Cleveland after a brief stint in Philadelphia.
Carrera fell short in vying for a Major League roster spot with the Indians during Spring Training. Cleveland designated him for assignment, and he latched on with the Phillies. Carrera made his return to Cleveland when the Phillies visited the Tribe on Monday, a day before a two-game set at Progressive Field.
However, before Carrera could suit up against his former mates, the Phillies designated him for assignment to create a spot for Delmon Young on their roster. So, Carrera drove to his home in Columbus and waited for his phone to ring.
On Thursday, it was the Indians on the other end of the phone.
"I was surprised," said Carrera, who collected one hit in 13 at-bats for the Phillies. "I'm very happy to come back to Cleveland. It's another opportunity."
The Indians chose Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn instead of Carrera for their bench at the start of the season. Carrera, who batted .272 and tallied eight stolen bases in 48 games for the Tribe last season, hit .279 in 43 at-bats this spring. The 25-year-old is out of options, so he had to clear waivers before he could be assigned to a Minor League affiliate. The Phillies jumped at the chance and claimed him.
"We knew that there was a good possibility that we'd lose him," said manager Terry Francona. "Now, we had a chance to get him back. This is a guy that has come through our organization, that the Indians developed, so having him back is great."
Carrera gives Francona another outfield option off the bench, a valuable commodity with center fielder Michael Bourn still on the mend with an injured right index finger.
"He's a guy that can play all three [outfield] positions," Francona said. "He obviously brings speed and a left-handed bat. So, it complements us very well.
"But, the basics of it is he's a guy we really liked and didn't want to lose."
Swisher sidelined, should return Saturday
CLEVELAND -- Nick Swisher has floated back and forth from first base to the outfield throughout his career, so he said his sore left shoulder isn't a foreign issue.
For the third straight game, Swisher wasn't penciled into manager Terry Francona's lineup as he continues to rest his troublesome shoulder. With Thursday's off-day, Swisher will have had four days of rest before he returns to the lineup, which both he and Francona said should take place on Saturday.
"We didn't take these last [few] days off to get better and then blow it back out again," Swisher said. "You want to get this thing behind you, put it in the rearview mirror and then get back in there."
Swisher took batting practice on Friday, but didn't throw the ball. He said the injury resulted from switching back and forth between the different positions, which took a toll on his throwing arm.
"I've been doing it my whole career," Swisher said. "I've been the guy that's always bouncing around from outfield to first base to designated hitter. It's kind of my gig."
Quote to note
"I don't think what hardware they have in the past really goes into our approach. We respect who we're facing, but we're trying to be better than them." -- Manager Terry Francona, whose Indians are 4-1 against Cy Young Award-winning pitchers this season.
• On a wall outside of the Indians' clubhouse, the team posted a series of five photos that illustrates the progression of 42-year-old Jason Giambi's head-first plunge into first base on Tuesday. In the middle photo, which displays Giambi on his stomach, with his arms extending toward the bag, Giambi wrote: "To the boys, play like you live! Hard!!" Giambi also autographed the picture.
• Brett Myers, on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, began a throwing program on Friday. Manager Terry Francona said the right-hander threw 30-35 pitches from up to 60 feet.
• Center fielder Michael Bourn took batting practice on Friday as he continues his recovery from an injury to his right index finger. Bourn suffered the injury on a head-first slide into first base on April 14. Francona estimated that the 30-year-old would begin a short rehab assignment in the coming days.
• Radio play-by-play voice Tom Hamilton will be away from the team for this weekend's series to be with family in Sun Prairie, Wis., following the death of his father, Frank, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 86.