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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ausmus lets Kelly, J.D. Martinez pick their own positions — sort of

DETROIT — In a throwback to sandlot baseball, Don Kelly and J.D. Martinez got to pick their own positions.

Well, sort of.

Planning to rest his normal corner outfielders, Rajai Davis and Torii Hunter for Wednesday’s game, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus asked the two reserves which side they preferred: right field or left.

“I actually asked Donnie and J.D. where they prefer,” the manager admitted. “They both kind of said, ‘Wherever you want to put me,’ but after a little more prying J.D. gave it up that he played more left field, so I decided to keep him there.”

Ausmus had to do a little digging to get one of the two to fess up to a preference.

“You’ve got to read between the lines,” the manager said.

“I asked him (J.D.). He said ‘wherever you want to put me.’ I said, ‘If you had a choice, where would you play?’ He said it doesn’t matter. But then he said ‘but I’ve played left more than I’ve played right.’ They don’t want to say they don’t want to play somewhere, but I think by saying he’s played left more he’s indicating that he’s more comfortable in left.”

Ausmus took care of writing them into the lineup where he wanted. [CLICK HERE for the lineup]

He put Kelly at No. 2 in the order, behind Ian Kinsler and ahead of Miguel Cabrera.

“You mix up the right-left look. We don’t usually have a left-handed bat that high up in the order,” Ausmus said of Kelly. “He’s got the ability to do little things, I think, as well. He understands the game. He knows when to take a pitch if someone’s trying to steal. He knows when he needs to get a guy over. He knows who’s hitting behind him. And he’s swung the bat well. He swung the bat well in spring training and he’s swung the bat well so far this season, granted, in limited duty.”

The manager put Martinez in the No. 5 spot, behind cleanup hitter Victor Martinez.

“There’s quite a bit of power right there,” Ausmus said. “My hope is he can run into one and drive one and maybe knock in a couple runs there, but certainly Jackson’s capable of hitting there as well. I just decided to put them in that order.”


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