Ausmus rethinks use of V-Mart in 8th inning Monday

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Washington — After sleeping on it, Brad Ausmus would have done it differently.

That’s the beauty of hindsight. 

Go back to the eighth inning Monday night. The score was tied 4-4. There were two outs and Nick Castellanos at second base. James McCann was the scheduled hitter. Ausmus had Victor Martinez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia available to pinch hit.

He opted to send Martinez up first, knowing Nationals manager Dusty Baker would walk him intentionally. He then used Saltalamacchia to hit for Anthony Gose with two on. 

Saltalamacchia struck out to end the inning and Martinez was essentially wasted.

“I assumed Dusty was going to walk Victor, but ultimately you’re going to end up getting Salty to the plate,” Ausmus said after the game. “Either hit him right away or hit Salty with two guys on instead of one. I was in between, quite frankly. 

“I wasn’t sure we’d have another opportunity to use Victor because we were coming to the top of the order. I was in between. But if he walked Victor, I was hoping Salty could get a big hit with two runners on.”

In retrospect, Ausmus said he would have let McCann hit for himself and save the two pinch-hitters.

“There’s going to be a handful of times when you go back and think about it and say, ‘Ah, I should have done this or I should have done that,’” he said. “This will be one of those times.”

Leyland: Tigers are 'going to be fine' under Ausmus

He said, ideally, he would have let McCann try to work his way on base and then use Martinez in a situation where he had to be pitched to.

“Part of the reason I used him at the time, though, I was running out of time to use him,” Ausmus said. “I know I could have used him for the pitcher (four spots away), but that’s not ideal, either.

“I guess I would describe it like this: I was trying to go for the knockout punch and I should’ve just been jabbing.”

Old grudges

When Max Scherzer was a Tiger, he organized all the clubhouse pools and fantasy leagues. And more times than not, he’d win them. Which brought him under a lot of good-natured scrutiny. 

But he’s still a little touchy on the subject of the team’s fantasy football league season in 2013. Miguel Cabrera, against all odds, won it that year.

“He did win it, but it would mean a lot more if he didn’t have an assistant general manager (running his team),” Scherzer said. “If he actually were to sit in on his own draft and do it himself, it would mean a lot more.

“But he won it. It was the year (after) he won the Triple Crown, so his team was ‘Quadruple Crown.’”

It was suggested that Scherzer should cut Cabrera some slack since he was from Venezuela and didn’t know much about American football.

“You play for blood,” Scherzer said, smiling. “The Latin excuse doesn’t hold water with me.”

Around the horn

Ausmus said the plan is for Cameron Maybin (shoulder) to play center field for the Toledo Mud Hens Wednesday night.

“That is subject to change,” he said. “But since this has gone on for so long, we have to make sure he’s ready to go. He may have to play a minimum of three games in center field before we’d call him up. We don’t want to bring him up and then he gets injured again.”

... Cabrera was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday, but it was not health related. Playing in a National League park with no designated hitter, Ausmus' plan is to rotate an off day between Cabrera, Victor Martinez (who started at first base) and third baseman Nick Castellanos.

Cabrera's jammed his right knee hard sliding into second base Monday and was still a bit swollen Tuesday. But he could have played. On Wednesday, Cabrera is expected to start at third base with Martinez at first.

… The makeup date for the Yankees-Tigers game rained out at Comerica Park April 10, has been rescheduled for June 2 at 7:40 p.m.

Twitter: @cmccosky