Ausmus considers Aybar, Iglesias sharing position

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Detroit's Erick Aybar, right, jogs the bases past Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco after his solo home run off Michael Tonkin during the seventh inning in Minneapolis Tuesday.

Minneapolis – Manager Brad Ausmus remains optimistic that the left side of his infield will be back intact by mid-September.

But, even with shortstop Jose Iglesias expected to be activated Friday, evidence is mounting to the contrary.

Third baseman Nick Castellanos, who was running the stairs at Target Field early Thursday morning, is still unable to do any baseball activity other than throwing. He has been out since Aug. 6 with a non-displaced fracture of the left metacarpal bone on his left hand.

The timeframe for recovery for that injury is generally four to seven weeks – though the Tigers did not give a specific time frame. Typically, the time frame is when the bone is healed and he can be cleared for all baseball activity.

It doesn’t include rehab time.

If it goes a full seven weeks, Castellanos wouldn’t be ready to begin a rehab assignment until the last week of September – and that rehab assignment would have to be in Instructional League play in Florida.

“I would expect to have him back before that,” Ausmus said. “More like the middle of September. I thought the time frame was four to six weeks – whatever. That doesn’t really matter. We’ll see if he’s ready. If not, we will adjust.”

Casey McGehee continues to fill in admirably at third base. Ausmus said Erick Aybar and Andrew Romine were also options to play more third base if needed, though Aybar has only played one game at third base in his career.

“Aybar hasn’t played much at third, not that he couldn’t handle it,” Ausmus said.

Truth is, Ausmus has liked what he’s seen from Aybar at shortstop and expects him to continue to get time there even with Iglesias back.

“Iglesias will get time at short, but if Aybar is playing well, it’s not like we’re going to not play him,” Ausmus said. “If he’s producing, he’s going to play.”

Ausmus said it wasn’t a matter of Iglesias having to win his job back. It was more about having more match-up options with the shortstop position.

With the switch-hitting Aybar, who hits better from the left side, he gives Ausmus potentially a better option against good right-handed pitching.

“It’s just going to boil down to who we think is going to help us win,” Ausmus said. “Pretty simple.”