SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ryan Raburn, who signed to a Minor League contract with the Cleveland Indians over the offseason, is off to a hot start this spring.
Raburn hit .550 through nine games, with four home runs and 11 RBIs. Although the statistics do not count for much in Spring Training, Raburn's strong start is a positive sign for the Indians, as the 31-year-old utility player is coming off of a dismal 2012 season.
"He should feel confident," manager Terry Francona said. "He feels good about himself, and every time he goes up there, he puts the barrel on the ball. That's a good feeling as a hitter."
Raburn, who spent a large part of last season on the disabled list with a right quadriceps strain, played in 66 games with the Detroit Tigers and posted career lows in batting average (.171) and on-base percentage (.226).
Despite the struggles from a season ago, Raburn is a career .256 hitter with a simple swing that Francona believes will allow him to have success not only this Spring, but also during the regular season, regardless of his role.
"Whether he starts or comes in or plays half a game, he has that nice, short stroke working," Francona said. "I think his swing is really suited to do that. Everybody wants to play every day, but he has a nice short swing [that is suited for any role]."
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.