Aviles starts after Castellanos goes 4-for-4
Detroit – Nick Castellanos just shrugged.
After going 4-for-4 in the home opener Friday, he was not in the starting lineup against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia Saturday.
Manager Brad Ausmus had it prearranged that Mike Aviles was going to get the start.
“Nick is fine,” Ausmus said. “It’s not a day off for him. Mike Aviles needs to play. You’ve got to use the whole roster. If we’re going to ask these guys to perform in big situations, they’ve got to get some at-bats and some starts. Nick will be back in the lineup tomorrow.”
Ausmus notified Aviles after the game Friday that he’d be starting.
“I had it in my mind because I wanted to get Aviles in there,” Ausmus said. “Certainly (Castellanos’ four hits Friday) made me pause. But I still have to do what’s best in the long haul.”
It doesn’t hurt that Aviles has hit .360 against Sabathia (9 for 25).
“I have? I didn’t know,” Aviles said. “I just know I’ve faced him quite a bit and I know I see the ball pretty well. I never know the results. There can be times when you see it well and you hit the ball good off a guy and don’t get the results – you hit it at people.
“I just know I have faced him a bunch.”
He’s faced Sabathia when he threw in the upper-90s and he’s faced him recently when he’s evolved into more of a crafty left-hander. Either way, he loves the confrontation.
“It’s always fun to face a guy like CC.,” Aviles said. “Regardless of the velo, the guy is a competitor and you see it when he’s on the mound. He could be out there throwing 70 or 97, he’s going to compete and he’s going to come at you.
“You enjoy that. That’s what we all thrive on – that competition. He’s got that ace, bulldog, me against you mentality. You love that as a player.”
Sabathia is 35 and barely won the fifth starting spot in the Yankees rotation this spring.
The Tigers faced him on a cold day last April and beat him 2-1. He struck out five and allowed seven hits in eight innings.
“He’s a different pitcher than he was five years ago,” Ausmus said. “But he’s still very good – very savvy.”