Fox Sports: Ausmus’ playing days 4th among MLB skippers

The Detroit News

Entering Wednesday’s game, manager Brad Ausmus owns a .519 winning percentage with the Tigers. He’s taken them to the playoffs in just one of his first three seasons, getting swept in the AL Division Series by the Orioles.

He’s often a hot-button issue for Tigers fans, just as most managers are in most major-league cities.

There’s little debate about his playing days, however, where Ausmus was a pretty good major-league catcher for 18 seasons.

Fox Sports ranks Ausmus’ playing career fourth among managers, behind only Paul Molitor of the Twins (No. 1), Don Mattingly of the Marlins (No. 2) and Dusty Baker of the Nationals (No. 3).

Ausmus played 10 seasons in Houston, and also had two separate stints with the Tigers (1996, 1999-2000). He’s a three-time Gold Glove winner.

“Ausmus was no slouch on offense, either,” wrote Brett Smiley of Fox Sports. “He batted .251 overall, pitched in 102 stolen bases and hit 270 doubles, 34 triples and 80 home runs.”

Other notable on the list include Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, who checked in at No. 20. Lovullo was the Tigers’ fifth-round pick in 1987, and played two of his eight seasons in Detroit. He had a career average of .224, including .167 in 108 at-bats with the Tigers in 1988 and 1989.

“Pretty much a replacement-level player,” Smiley wrote.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who spent the 2003 season with the Tigers as a catcher, ranked No. 14, one spot ahead of Athletics manager Bob Melvin, who was a catcher for the Tigers in 1985 — his first in a 10-year major-league career.

Red Sox manager John Farrell also had a short-lived stint in Detroit, appearing in two games — both losses — in 1996, where he compiled a 14.21 ERA. The former 14-game winner with the Indians ranks No. 11 on Fox Sports’ list.