DETROIT -- Tigers reliever Zach Miner has successfully undergone season-ending Tommy John surgery, head athletic director Kevin Rand said Saturday.
Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum completed the surgery Friday in Los Angeles. The surgery reconstructed Miner's ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, which was diagnosed two weeks ago.
A typical rehab process usually takes 9-12 months before the pitcher is throwing in games again.
"Everything went well and he's on his way back home to start his rehab," Rand said. "Our hope is that by him getting the surgery at this point that he will be either ready to go at the beginning of next year or shortly thereafter."
Miner had experienced elbow problems since the middle of Spring Training, but the severity of his injury wasn't known until tests revealed the partial ligament tear after an outing during extended spring training that produced high levels of discomfort.
Entering the season, Miner was expected to play a major role in Detroit's bullpen. He showed he could fill many roles for the Tigers last season, as he was everything from a spot starter to a middle reliever to a setup man. He went 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 2009.
Homer theft just part of Laird's woes
DETROIT -- A well-hit ball to left-center field should have been exactly what the doctor ordered for Gerald Laird.
The Tigers catcher was in the midst of a slump so frustrating that he decided to change his number prior to Friday's game. And on Saturday, with his first swing sporting the new No. 12 on his back, it looked like a perfect decision to cure his woes from the plate.
But, wait. Here came A's left fielder Gabe Gross tracking the ball hard as it roared toward the fence. Gross timed his jump perfectly, threw half his body over the fence and was able to make a highlight-reel catch to deny Laird of his third home run of the season.
All Laird could do was shake his head and trot back to the dugout. Not only would a home run have immensely helped his confidence, it would have also given the Tigers a 1-0 lead in Saturday's game against the A's. Instead, the Tigers bats remained silent on the night in a 6-0 loss.
"I've taken homers away," Gross said, "but that's the best one I can remember. They don't come around very often."
Laird went 0-for-3, dropping his batting average to a meager .154. He may not have recorded hits in his other two at-bats, but he sure made good contact.
"This game is a result-oriented game," Laird lamented after the loss. "It's tough. You see an 0-for-3 in the box score and it's tough because we lost. I thought I hit that ball good at my first at-bat to get us on the board 1-0 to get us going.
"I'm hitting right to people. It's one of those days where you have to keep battling. It's a grind, 162 games. Hopefully at some point this year it's going to start to turn around."
In 32 games behind the plate for the Tigers, Laird has only recorded two multiple-hit games and entered Saturday's contest with a team-low .238 slugging percentage.
Trying to find offensive production from a catcher is still a concern for Tigers manager Jim Leyland. Laird has been splitting time with catcher Alex Avila, who is batting .153 in 26 games this season.
"I felt so bad for him because he really had three pretty good at-bats tonight and really had nothing to show for it," Leyland said of Laird's night. "Sometimes when you are struggling that continues to happen. If he continues to swing the bat like he did tonight, those will start to fall and he will get some hits."
Raburn gets start for Boesch
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland gave rookie slugger Brennan Boesch a rest Saturday, starting Ryan Raburn in his place.
Boesch leads American League rookies with 22 RBIs and 17 extra-base hits. He had played in 25 consecutive games before Saturday. He was red-hot during that span but cooled off of late, going 3-for-15 with a double in his last four games.
Raburn has started in only one game but has pinch hit in three contests since a stint at Triple-A Toledo, where he hit .444 with six doubles in seven games. He is 1-for-9 since being recalled May 22.
Raburn started in the Tigers' 5-4 loss to Seattle on May 26 and recorded his first hit since being recalled. He also crushed two balls to deep center field -- both of which were tracked down and caught by Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez.
"He swung the bat good in Seattle," Leyland said. "I need to keep him going a little bit."
Leyland said in most ballparks both of those deep shots to center are home runs. Raburn agreed.
"The first one I thought was gone," Raburn said. "The second one I was pretty for sure because I hit that one even better. Sometimes that's how it goes. You are only as good as how big the ballpark is. I need to play in smaller ballparks."
Leyland said he isn't sure if he will give Boesch one day off or two but said he wouldn't hesitate to use him in a pinch-hitting situation if needed Saturday.
Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.