MLB draft was no big deal to Ausmus in 1987

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Brad Ausmus

Detroit – The process has changed a lot since Brad Ausmus was drafted back in 1987.

With the MLB draft beginning Thursday, Ausmus reminisced a bit about when he was picked in the 48th round by the New York Yankees.

“They don’t even have 48 rounds anymore,” Ausmus said.

But there’s more to it than that. The draft has become much more glitzy.

“First of all, it wasn’t televised,” said Ausmus, who was a high school player in Connecticut at the time.

“I don’t think I was drafted until the second or third day; it’s not like I was sitting by the phone,” Ausmus said. “I was actually at a friend’s house and the Yankees called my house. My mom called my friend’s house and told me on the phone (he’d been drafted).

“That was it.”

What did Ausmus think of being drafted by a major league team?

“That’s cool, I guess,” Ausmus said. “You’re obviously excited. I didn’t know anything about the process. It’s not like I had an agent or anything.”

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With the abundance of camps and individual training and travel leagues, kids are playing hundreds of more games and getting specialized coaching that kids weren’t getting 30 years ago.

“Nowadays, kids are getting training to be drafted,” Ausmus said. “That wasn’t the case back then. I was just playing baseball.”

Ausmus sees positives and negatives with all specialization at an early age.

“It goes both ways,” Ausmus said. “You end up having kids who are much more talented and much more of a finished product,” Ausmus said. “But you also see things like arm injuries because they’re training guys who are training to be a pitcher from the age of 11.

“You have injuries earlier in life, especially the elbow.”

Settling in

Reliever Shane Greene – that’s reliever, not starter – seems to be settling into his new role.

The right-hander has made three appearances out of the bullpen since returning from a blister problem, and has done a good job.

Greene allowed one run over 1.2 innings in Tuesday’s victory, striking out three.

It was the first run Greene had allowed in three appearances.

“We kind of thought since he came back, he might be able to pitch there,” Ausmus said of Greene’s seventh- / eighth-inning role out of the bullpen. “So far, so good.”

Iggy on fire

Shortstop Jose Iglesias entered Wednesday’s game on a season-high seven-game hitting streak, hitting .391 (9-for-23) during the span.

Iglesias had hit safely in 10 of the last 12 games.

The rebound was in stark contrast to Iglesias’ offensive troubles in May.

“He’s had much better at-bats lately,” Ausmus said. “He struggled a little bit on the road trip (at the end of May) but even his outs have been hit hard in the last few games.

“He’s making good swings overall.”

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Around the horn

Ausmus said the team will be careful with outfielder Cameron Maybin, whose wrist has been acting up in recent days.

Maybin has been a catalyst, hitting .419 over 21 games since being activated off the disabled list.

“I’m not overly concerned but it does act up from time to time,” Ausmus said. “We have to be aware of it.”

Maybin didn’t start Tuesday night but got into the game as a pinch runner. He also was not in Wednesday’s lineup.

… Former Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell had kind thoughts regarding the death of former Detroit sports anchorman Al Ackerman, who passed away Monday in Florida at the age of 90.

Ackerman coined the phrase “Bless You Boys,” which he used frequently during the Tigers’ 1984 World Series season.

“Over 30 years later, and I still see those bumper stickers,” Trammell said.

… In Toledo, reliever Bruce Rondon struck out three hitters Tuesday (and walked one) in a hitless ninth inning for his sixth save in Toledo’s 3-2 victory over Pawtucket.