Ausmus has to find balance bringing along Iglesias

Brad Ausmus has a shortstop coming back who could help perform a makeover on Detroit’s infield defense. That’s the good news with Jose Iglesias. The bad news is the balance Ausmus has to strike in getting him there.

This is a more complicated comeback than simply declaring Iglesias over his longtime issues and ready to play. This is a rehab of an unusual injury without a ton of history. And Ausmus, while being encouraged, might be the most realistic — and cautious — of anyone about this.

“It’s very encouraging,” Ausmus said Sunday, “but a number of hurdles have to be crossed before I’ll feel really good about Iglesias’ situation, the biggest of which is being sure his legs can withstand the pounding of daily baseball activity.”

He has to watch how far, how quickly he pushes Iglesias coming off stress fractures in both shins. A gifted young shortstop is a prized commodity in baseball, and the Tigers paid dearly to get one when they traded Avisail Garcia to a division rival. They have fill-ins, but nobody whose impact compares to what Iglesias can do for a game when healthy.

“I’m just concerned more about the long haul than I am some specific incident happening,” Ausmus said. “I’m just worried this might sneak back up on us over the course of a few months if we don’t pay attention to it.”

And yet, for managerial purposes, Ausmus has to figure out how far he can push Iglesias, how long of a stretch he can play his young shortstop without wearing him down.

“We’re going to try to build him up a little bit into it,” Ausmus said, “but at some point before we get to April, we need to know if he can take the pound on a daily basis.”

At the same time, he has to give him enough at-bats to get his timing back after a year of no at-bats anywhere.

“He’s already talked to me about getting a few extra at-bats compared to a normal Spring Training,” Ausmus said.

He has already taken a Leyland-esque outlook on that one.

“If he gets off to a good start, then [the low at-bats] doesn’t affect him at all,” Ausmus said. “If he gets off to a slow start, then the reason he’s gotten off to a slow start is because he hasn’t played in a year. I don’t know that you can really predetermine how it’s going to go. I think the best thing to do is try to get him extra at-bats, do as much as you can to kind of negate the off-time. But ultimately, you just don’t know.”

Don’t be surprised if Iglesias bats up in the batting order for some games this spring. It would allow Ausmus to get him extra at-bats while still watching how many innings he plays at shortstop. It would not necessarily put him in line to bat second in the regular season, though a good spring wouldn’t hurt.

The Tigers might have some at-bats open at designated hitter early in the spring, too, until Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez are ready.

None of this suggests Iglesias won’t be ready for the season. Unless he has a serious setback, he’ll almost surely be in the lineup when the Tigers host the Twins on April 6 at Comerica Park. Ausmus’ concerns are the games in June, July and into the stretch run.

He at least seems to have a shortstop who understands that.

“I’ve got to work smart,” Iglesias said Saturday. “I don’t want to cause any issues to myself. But I’m fine. I’m really happy. I’m really excited.”

20 Comments

The ship were burnt and there is no replacement in the farm system ( Machado should be farther from MLB than Suarez) or as FA.

Didn’t like the Suarez/Simon trade at all.
They are putting a lot of faith in Julio and realistcally, you cn’t figure he is “healed”.
I think some DH will be good for him. I also think (and yes I know he is an infielder) they should minimize his exposure to artificial surfaces.

can understand the concern, but i’m quite optimistic about his chances to play a lot this season, barring another unrelated injury or poor performance. i don’t think this is a situation that plays out as a recurring annual problem like guys with nagging hamstrings.

OK, I’m officially worried. It’s the running that they have to be concerned with. Can he run on the ground without his legs hurting. Can he take off for 1st base and come to a quick stop without pain. Can he do that 3 days in a row? It will be 1 year at the end of March. Only time will tell. There is no one else I want to watch play shortstop so hoping and praying his legs can hold up.

Not worried about our young SS he will be fine. What I still don’t understand is that he took a physical for the trade to be finalized–so why weren’t the injuries discovered. If they were discovered and the trade went thru then Dombroski deserves to be fired. An explanation about the injury has never been discussed why?

They knew he had shin splints which is a common injury. His legs weren’t broken at that point. We watched him play even with the SS’s. It was last spring when he couldn’t run to 1st base and they finally did the tests on him. I don’t think he was damaged goods because he was playing at a high level at the time of the trade.

SHIN SPLINTS? we talking about SHIN SPLINTS? SHIN SPLINTS!?! (A.I. reference)

He is so young so don’t rush him. Romine can play great defense. This team should score some runs and will be fun to watch. Except when they get shut out🙂 Go Tigers. C’mon Spring, it is a little cold in SW Michigan.

There’s Jason’s tweet. Miggy is in camp.

I’d like to talk more about JD Martinez. The story is fairly well known – but worth revisiting: what will year 2 with Miggy’s mechanics….learning under miggy personally….on JD Martinez’s frame….look like??? I saw some footage of him this morning, and it’s a beautiful thing. He could be the next huge thing — I’d extend him right now.

Yeah, this is why the Suarez trade is so puzzling. And even trading guys like Adames and Leyba that could have been a future replacement.

Joba Chamberlain spotted in #Tigers’ camp. In agreement with club on one-year, major-league deal, pending physical, per source.
Rosenthal

Fields would be the obvious choice

Chad Smith DFA, the second obvious choice

1 MM plus incentives. Rosenthal

O Crap .. They blew it

YEEEESSSS!!! THEY DID IT! Thank GAWD!!! I’m super pumped about this JOBA signing! I will now stop complaining about the bullpen DD has put together.

Joba, Joba, Joba

Heyman:
Joba: 1M base, plus 100K for 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 games. (1.5M max). 100K if he becomes 1st middle reliever to win CY Young🙂

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