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.

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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.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984