Ausmus 'open' to Avila sharing more catching duties

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

San Diego — Nothing will be determined until spring training, of course, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus left the door open to the possibility that Alex Avila may share more of the catching duties in 2015, and most likely with rookie James McCann.

"It's certainly open at this point," Ausmus said. "Clearly Alex has shown he has the ability to be an everyday catcher. He works well with the pitchers, they trust him. But I also think a guy like McCann has a very bright future. I like the way he catches."

Ausmus said there were no health limitations on Avila after enduring several concussions last season. He has been fully cleared.

"A decision on who's No. 1 or No. 2 won't be made until spring training, or even if there is a No. 1 and a No. 2," Ausmus said. "Maybe there will be a split. I can't give you a full answer. All I can say is Alex is an established big-league catcher and I really like McCann. And (Bryan) Holaday did a really nice job as a backup last season.

"But a decision won't be made until March."

New coaches

The Tigers have hired three new minor-league coaches, two of them former major-league players with ties to the organization.

Scott Fletcher, who finished his long playing career with the Tigers in 1995, is the new minor-league infield coordinator. Phil Clark, the Tigers first-round pick (18th overall) in 1986, will be the hitting instructor at Single A West Michigan.

Fletcher had been working in the Atlanta organization and Clark with the Indians.

Also, longtime White Sox minor leaguer Carlos Chantres, will be the pitching coach at Class A Connecticut.