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Ausmus makes case for keeping both Romine, Perez

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Jupiter, Fla. — Manager Brad Ausmus said Monday that he could envision keeping both utility players — Hernan Perez and Andrew Romine — on the 25-man roster.

That would mean that Tyler Collins, fifth outfielder and left-handed power bat, would not make the squad.

"If you look at our team, we have Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez, Raj Davis and Anthony Gose — we have four outfielders," he said. "Where's (Collins) playing? Maybe he can pinch hit here and there. Maybe one of those corner outfielders really needs a day off and we're facing a tough righty — maybe a guy like Collins fits into that mold.

"But barring injury, between those four outfielders the vast majority of playing time is already consumed."

That's why he said he can envision both Perez and Romine, who are both out of minor league options, on the opening day roster and not Collins, who has options left.

But, he said he could make a case for keeping Collins, too.

"It would be nice to have that bat sitting on the bench," he said. "The question is, how long do you want him sitting on the bench? We have to wait and see. The main concern is we have to get everybody healthy that's in the starting lineup. Then it gives us a clearer path as to what we need on the roster."

If first baseman Miguel Cabrera (knee) isn't ready to play the first week of the season, Ausmus said, the Tigers not only need somebody to play first base, but somebody who can provide some offense.

"And if one of our outfielders is injured, it changes everything," he said. "If something happens to any of the nine regulars and we think Collins can fill a void, that's an option.

But so much is in the air."