Detroit — If you can peer into the Tigers dugout about 10 minutes before each game at Comerica Park, you’ll see quite a show.
It’s the way the Tigers are pumping themselves up for the game that’s about to be played — the final stage of their preparation.
They’re hugging each other, high-fiving each other, parading from one intricate handshake to another.
If outcomes were based on pregame enthusiasm, the Tigers might not lose.
“When I see it, I find it hard to believe they can all remember these handshakes,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “They’re very intricate, different with each person — and they kind of evolve. They start out as a regular handshake, but by the All-Star break, they’re bumping, and hitting, and hugging. I don’t know how they remember it.
“Victor (Martinez) kind of spearheads the atmosphere in the dugout. And Joba (Chamberlain) has a whole skit going on.”
Ausmus and Austin Jackson had their own handshake, with emphasis on had.
“Jax and I had a little something, but for some reason, somewhere, it kind of stopped,” Ausmus said. “Then he seemed to start hitting.
“So he looked at me (on Tuesday) after we hadn’t done it for about a month, and I just said, ‘No.’ We’re not going to start that up again. We’re not messing with karma.”
Wait and see
This is Ausmus’ first time approaching a trade deadline as a manager.
So he was asked Wednesday if he wanted something to happen, hoped something would happen, or was just waiting to see if something happens.
“It’s not difficult,” he said. “It’s the same thing as when you’re a player. You’re just waiting to see if anything develops.
“My simple philosophy is that these 25 guys we have today are what we’re going out and trying to win with. If something changes, then something changes. I don’t get overly concerned about, ‘Are we going to have this guy or that guy tomorrow.’ ”
As a player, Ausmus never was traded at the July 31 deadline. The closest he came was July 26, 1993, when the Rockies traded him, catcher Andy Ashby and pitcher Doug Bochtler to the Padres for pitchers Greg Harris and Bruce Hurst.
But he didn’t become a calendar watcher the rest of his career, for one good reason.
“I had a no-trade clause for a good portion of my career,” Ausmus said. “So it wasn’t a huge concern.”
Did his no-trade clause ever nix a deal?
“No,” Ausmus said. “The only time I ever got traded when I had a no-trade was when I got traded from here back to Houston (in 2000).”
And that was fine with him.
As he said Tuesday, Nick Castellanos had sufficiently recovered from a right index finger bruise to be in Wednesday’s lineup against the White Sox. He hit a three-run homer to go along with a career-high four RBIs in a 2-for-4 performance.
But Eugenio Suarez’s stiff back prevented him from starting at shortstop.
“I felt a little pinch on the first ground ball to short (off the bat of Alexei Ramirez in the first inning),” Suarez said. “I tried to keep going, but it hurt and I couldn’t.”
He came out of Tuesday’s game for a pinch-hitter in the fourth, but said he felt better Wednesday.
“I don’t know yet, but maybe I can play (today),” he said.
Ausmus cautioned, though, “That’s based on how much better he feels. But you just don’t know how it’s going to respond overnight. I don’t know if he even knows if he’ll be able to play.”
Now that he’s been traded from Cleveland to St. Louis, it’s probable one of the American League hitters Justin Masterson will miss the least is Miguel Cabrera, whose 11 RBIs are tied for the most (with Alexei Casilla) off Masterson.
Cabrera’s 14 hits are the second-most off Masterson.
Torii Hunter’s three home runs are the most Masterson has allowed.
But the leading Tigers hitters with more than 20 at-bats against Masterson was Don Kelly at .476 (10-for-21).
White Sox at Tigers
First pitch: 1:08 Thursday, Comerica Park, Detroit
TV/radio: FSD, WGN/97.1
LHP John Danks, (9-6, 4.40), White Sox: More strong starts than bad, but he’s been winning. In his last 10 starts, he’s 6-1 with a 4.12 ERA.
LHP Drew Smyly (6-9, 3.77), Tigers: Also more strong starts than bad, but also more losses than wins. In his last nine starts, he’s 4-5 with a 3.46 ERA.