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Published: Tuesday, 7/24/2007

Hens fans, your eyes are not deceiving you

Mike Hessman got his revamped career off to a good start Monday night. Mike Hessman got his revamped career off to a good start Monday night.
BRIAN KERSEY / AP Enlarge

If you turn on FSN Detroit tonight and wonder when the channel started showing Mud Hens games, it's perfectly understandable.

Virgil Vasquez will be on the mound and Mike Hessman and Ryan Raburn will be in the field for the Tigers in the second game of a doubleheader against the White Sox. Three weeks ago that was a staple lineup at Fifth Third Field.

Vasquez is just up for a day making a spot start, but Raburn and Hessman have the chance to make a mark with the Tigers. It feels like they are trade bait, but it doesn't make a difference to them because they just want to stick somewhere in the majors after dominating Triple-A this year.

Hessman has been labeled by a low batting average and high number of strikeouts his entire career, but he made a good first impression on the Tigers with a go-ahead two-run single Monday night.

Raburn is hitting .364 in seven games. Fans automatically loved him because he replaced Neifi Perez, but he's giving them legitimate reasons to be pleased with his play. He hit his first-career major-league home run leading off the first inning on Saturday

Vasquez, Hessman and Raburn are lucky, of course, to have a big-league manager like Jim Leyland who believes in rewarding players who produce, no matter what their prospect ratings are. Time will tell if they are able to prove they belong.



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