Ausmus unsure Castellanos could be playoff contributor

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos hasn't played since suffering a broken hand on Aug. 6.

Detroit — Sure, Nick Castellanos can be on the Tigers’ postseason roster. Technically.

Whether he can be — realistically — remains to be seen, as he continues to recover from a broken left hand.

Manager Brad Ausmus was asked Thursday if Castellanos could be a playoff contributor if he doesn’t return to game action before the end of the regular season.

“I don’t know that I can give you an answer,” Ausmus said. “Kind of tough to throw him in there. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t use him as a pinch-hitter, though.”

Castellanos hasn’t played since early August, when he was drilled on the left hand by a pitch. He took some live swings Wednesday against Jordan Zimmermann, but not many swings, and none at anything close to 100 percent.

The Tigers can’t send him on a minor-league rehab stint, because the minor-league seasons are over.

Tigers willing to roll the dice with Fulmer

Even Instructional League games don’t start till later in the month.

Ausmus said the Tigers might have to set up a simulated game at the Instructional League, but Castellanos still is at least a week away from that being in the cards.

“My hope is he’d be able to show he could play before that,” Ausmus said of Castellanos playing in the playoffs — which, of course, still aren’t a guarantee for a Tigers team a game back of the second wild card and six games back in the division.

Castellanos was enjoying his breakout season in the big leagues -- 18 homers, 58 RBIs, .286/.331/.500 — before suffering the broken hand.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984