Ausmus to return as Tigers manager in 2016
DETROIT (AP) Al Avila heard the reports that he had already decided to fire Brad Ausmus. He didn't pay much attention.
After all, the new Detroit Tigers general manager knew he hadn't made that decision yet.
He finally did Saturday, announcing that Ausmus would be back in 2016 for a third season.
Avila replaced Dave Dombrowski in early August, and immediately announced he would be doing a complete review of the organization.
When reports said that Ausmus would be fired at the end of the season, Avila simply issued a statement saying the review was still ongoing and decisions would be made before the end of the season.
True to Avila's word, Ausmus was informed with almost a week left in the season that he was coming back despite Detroit's first to worst tumble.
''For the past two months, we've been evaluating every level of our baseball operations, and on Friday, I met with Brad and told him I wanted him to continue as manager of the Detroit Tigers,'' Avila said. ''He and I are on the same page as to the future of this organization.''
Ausmus won Detroit's fourth straight AL Central title as a rookie manager in 2014, but the Tigers struggled amid injuries and terrible pitching. Miguel Cabrera missed six weeks with a calf strain and has been struggling with a back problem down the stretch. Victor Martinez has had a terrible season after coming back too quickly from spring knee surgery.
Justin Verlander missed significant time because of a triceps strain, and didn't start pitching like an ace until the second half of the season. Anibal Sanchez is missing the final six weeks of the season with rotator-cuff inflammation. Their bullpen has been one of the worst in baseball all year.
''This is a team that from Day 1 of spring training has faced a lot of adversity and a lot of injuries,'' Avila said. ''I believe Brad has the talent to lead and mentor the young guys on our team, and they have shown great improvement, and he's also won the respect of the veterans. That's a very important combination.''
Ausmus' entire staff will also be retained.
''I'm happy to be back,'' he said. ''I'm disappointed in what has happened, but we've got a core group back and I think there's a chance for a quick turnaround.''