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Ausmus continues to tout keeping Perez and Romine

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Hernan Perez

Lakeland, Fla. – More and more it seems manager Brad Ausmus is leaning toward keeping two utility players – Hernan Perez and Andrew Romine – instead of five outfielders.

The fifth outfielder would be Tyler Collins, who could provide some much-needed left-handed offense off the bench. But here is why Ausmus thinks keeping Perez and Romine might make more sense.

"You have to think about what we do as a team," he said. "What we need as a team and what do we do the most. Are we a team that needs pinch-hitting? Are we a team that needs pinch-runners? A team that needs defensive replacements?"

Ausmus pointed out there weren't many in the lineup he would pinch-hit for on any kind of regular basis, certainly not for Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes or Nick Castellanos.

"We are more apt to pinch-run late in a game for a guy like Victor or Miggy or Alex (Avila)," Ausmus said. "We would maybe need defensive replacements because we have some injury concerns. We might not be able to play a guy on a regular basis. That would hold for maybe Miggy early on and Jose Iglesias.

"We don't know how he is going to feel after playing five days in a row. We might need a day off here and there."

Ausmus also said they may use a defensive replacement for Castellanos late in close games, though, "We hope Nick plays better so we don't have to worry about that."

Ausmus may be leaning toward keeping the extra utility man, but he reiterated that no final decision has been made.

Twitter@cmccosky