February 24, 2014 at 11:31 am

Tom Gage

New manager Brad Ausmus needs to see Tigers in action

New Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will finally get to see his team in action Tuesday when it takes on Florida Southern College. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)

Gageís 140 Ė words, not characters, from Lakeland, Fla.

It hasnít meant much in the past.

Sometimes it was a night game in the middle of spring training, wedged into the schedule because it was an obligation.

But for years now itís been the game that has kicked off the competition of the spring.

The Florida Southern College game, which the Tigers will play Tuesday, takes on some importance this year because Brad Ausmus needs to see his players play ó and however that process begins is welcome.

There are batting-order decisions and roster evaluations to make, and while the FSC game might not be crucial in itself along those lines, itís important for the transition it represents: From the Tigers working out across the street, going through their drills, to a new manager watching his players compete.

Let the games begin, in other words. Itís time.