DETROIT (AP) — Brad Ausmus is hoping he'll have a chance to use every position player on his roster before too long — no sense letting backups become rusty at the beginning of the season.
"Yes, I'd like to get them in," Detroit's rookie manager said. "Mother Nature's going to have a say in that."
Sure enough, the Tigers had their game against the Kansas City Royals postponed because of rain on Thursday. The game will be made up June 19, when the Royals are back in town for what was initially supposed to be a three-game series followed by an off day.
Detroit will move on to a three-game series against Baltimore that's scheduled to start Friday — when the weather may not be much better.
The Tigers are planning to push right-hander Anibal Sanchez back to Friday's start after he was supposed to face the Royals on Thursday. Rick Porcello is now slated to pitch Saturday, meaning left-hander Drew Smyly will be skipped in the rotation.
Kansas City, on the other hand, will simply skip rookie Yordano Ventura, who was scheduled to pitch Thursday. Jeremy Guthrie will start Friday's home opener against the Chicago White Sox, as planned. Ventura will be available out of the bullpen.
The Tigers won their first two games under Ausmus, scoring the winning run in their last at-bat both times. The new manager made a big move in Monday's opener, sending rookie Tyler Collins to pinch-run in the ninth inning of a tie game. Collins ended up scoring the winning run.
Collins then started Wednesday's game in left field, but shortstop Andrew Romine's first start was put on hold by Thursday's postponement. Outfielder Don Kelly and backup catcher Bryan Holaday haven't played either.
Now the Tigers face the prospect of additional postponements, and they have scheduled off days April 7, 10 and 14. It has the makings of a choppy start to the season.
"You try to balance getting veterans rest and getting reserve players in, but when you have all these off days, the truth is the veterans probably don't need the rest," Ausmus said. "You still have reserves that need to get in, so it can be a little bit of a juggling act."