Cleveland — Andrew Romine was back in the starting lineup at third base Monday. It was the third straight game he's started over a healthy Nick Castellanos.
Yet, manager Brad Ausmus remains coy about his long-range plans for Castellanos or the third-base position.
"Romine played very well (Sunday)," Ausmus said. "I am going with the hot hand."
Romine had two hits, including his first right-handed home run, and a walk Sunday in the Tigers' 12-4 win over the Yankees.
Ausmus has cautioned not to read too much into the situation, but he left the door open for Romine to start as long as he continues to produce. Romine isn't getting involved in the debate — he just wants to do whatever job is asked of him.
"That's not the first thing I'm thinking about," he said of maintaining a starting role. "The first thing I am thinking about, the first thing we all are thinking about, is winning games. That's why we are here. What happens to me comes second."
Castellanos, meanwhile, is working daily on swing adjustments with hitting coach Wally Joyner. He is 9 for 51 this month (.176) and has struggled all season.
To this point, there has been no talk of Castellanos being sent to Toledo.
Catcher Alex Avila did baserunning drills and took batting practice before the game.
"He's going to run again on Wednesday and catch a bullpen," Ausmus said. "If all goes well Wednesday, he could start his rehab assignment on Thursday."
If that's how it plays out, Avila will join the Mud Hens in Norfolk for three games and then play at least three more in Toledo. Ausmus said the rehab could take a week to eight days.
Avila would catch three to five innings the first game, DH the second, catch five innings the third, DH again, then catch seven innings and possibly catch back-to-back games at that point.
He could be back during or just after the July 4 weekend.
Miguel Cabrera was on the field at 3:15 p.m. Monday getting in some extra conditioning and stretching work on his lower body.
He has shown no ill-effects from the foot and ankle surgery during the offseason.
"That doesn't mean the ankle doesn't get cranky on him from time to time," Ausmus said. "Sometimes, during night games when it's cooled off it might get cranky on him in the middle of the game. But he just puts a heat wrap on it."
Ausmus was glad, too, that he was able to get Cabrera out of the games the previous two nights — both were blowouts, one for and one against.
"It takes him off his feet," Ausmus said. "He's a big human and that gets him off his feet for a couple of innings — or four, like yesterday. I'd rather we take him out when we are leading, though. But he's certainly the first guy I look to get out of those types of games."
Cabrera is also sporting a nasty bump on his nose from the bad hop grounder that caromed off his face against the Yankees Friday night. It's not broken, but it is swollen.
Around the horn
Ausmus was asked if he thought Max Scherzer was a better pitcher this year than the last couple with the Tigers: "Well, I watched three innings of a perfect game — he looked better there. But we knew. We saw him pitch. We knew how good he is."
... J.D. Martinez very nearly negated one of his three home runs Sunday. As he was trotting around second after his third blast, he nearly passed Yoenis Cespedes. "It was like Cespy was talking a walk through Central Park," Ausmus said. "J.D. had to go from regular pace to extremely slow pace because Cespy is strolling through Central Park."