July 23, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila believes his current roster is good enough to reach the postseason and anticipates standing pat at the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

Avila also praised manager Brad Ausmus on Saturday, but said any talk on picking up his option for 2017 or a possible longer extension won't be made until the end of the season.

''This is a team that can get us into the playoffs,'' Avila said from the dugout before the Tigers faced the White Sox. ''We just have to get the guys back that are injured. We've got to stay healthy and we've got to be more consistent. I believe this team has the capability to do that, and we have a great manager to lead the way.''

In his third season, Ausmus was 215-205 heading into Saturday. Avila dismissed talk that the former big league catcher was a ''lame-duck manager'' because his initial three-year deal runs out at the end of the season. There's a team option for a fourth year.

''I'm not saying he's got to win to get the contract for the future years, but that `lame-duck tag' is non-existent in baseball,'' Avila said.

''I think he's managed our bullpen tremendously this year,'' the GM added. ''You can go back and criticize maybe one or two games and question something, but there's always a reason. . He's kept our bullpen fresh.''

Detroit entered Saturday 51-46, six games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland and within 2 1/2 games of Toronto for the final wild card spot despite being without starting pitchers Jordan Zimmerman (next strain) and Daniel Norris (oblique strain).

Both pitchers have begun minor league rehab stints. And outfielder J.D. Martinez has taken batting practice this weekend and is expected to return early next month.

''Those are going to be our major acquisitions,'' Avila said. ''There's nobody out there better than Jordan Zimmerman if he comes back healthy. Obviously, J.D. Martinez and then Daniel Norris.

''I don't see us adding another starting pitcher or reliever at this point.''

Avila said it was unlikely the Tigers would become sellers at the deadline, barring a long losing streak. A year ago, then-GM Dave Dombrowski ended up trading ace David Price and slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

''Two very attractive guys can also push you into the mode of saying we can get a nice return,'' Avila said. ''We don't have that this year in those kind of guys, those kind of contracts.''

So Avila said while their intention to stay put ''isn't sexy,'' it's the best way to handle a team looking to get back to the playoffs after a one-year absence.

''We have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and we put this team together in the wintertime thinking this team is what's going to compete and get us in the playoffs,'' Avila said. ''And we're going to stay that course.''

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