Tigers hire Ausmus as manager

DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers hired Brad Ausmus as their new manager Sunday, turning to a 44-year-old former catcher with almost no managerial experience to replace Jim Leyland at the helm of the three-time defending AL Central champions.

Ausmus, who worked most recently in the San Diego Padres front office as a special assistant to the general manager, emerged as Detroit’s pick less than two weeks after Leyland stepped down. Ausmus takes over a team that has reached the AL championship series three straight years and should be well positioned for another big season in 2014.

Ausmus managed Israel’s team in the World Baseball Classic, but he’s inexperienced as a manager compared to some other potential candidates. Ausmus played in the majors from 1993-2010.

The Tigers also interviewed Padres bench coach Rick Renteria and Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach — as well as Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.

If continuity was Detroit’s main concern, McClendon may have been the choice, but the Tigers acted a bit more boldly in hiring the Dartmouth-educated Ausmus, whose name also surfaced recently in connection with the Chicago Cubs’ job.

Detroit is one of three teams with first-time major league managers who should have a chance to win right away in 2014. The Washington Nationals hired Matt Williams to replace Davey Johnson. The Cincinnati Reds, who fired Dusty Baker after a 90-win season, went with pitching coach Bryan Price as their new manager.

Ausmus is 24 years younger than the man he’s replacing, and he inherits a roster with a high payroll and several big names, including Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. He’ll have a chance to win right away, and he’ll have to deal with high expectations.

The contrasts with the crusty-but-respected Leyland are obvious, and Ausmus will have to prove he can guide this star-studded team through the inevitable rough patches — but it wasn’t long ago that Ausmus was on the other side of that player-manager relationship. He played in 1,971 games with four different teams. He played for the Tigers for part of the 1996 season, and again from 1999-2000.

More in Sports

Friday’s prep football results

Here are scores and recaps from all of Friday’s local prep football… Continue reading

Seahawks place Avril on IR; Bennett listed as questionable

Injuries continue to mount for the Seahawks heading into Sunday’s game against the Giants in New York.

No. 15 WSU looking to bounce back against Colorado

The Cougars are ‘determined to improve’ after suffering their first loss to the season against Cal.

Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7 in ALCS

Justin Verlander pitches seven shutout innings to keep Houston’s season alive.

Everett High team shakes things up, discovers ways to win

The coach’s challenge and the players’ response has the Seagulls on the verge of the playoffs.

Stanwood wrestler Phillips commits to North Carolina

The senior verbally commits to join the Tar Heels after receiving interest from other major programs.

POLL RESULTS: Huskies suffered the more disappointing loss

By nearly a two-to-one ratio, poll voters regarded last weekend’s UW loss as worse than WSU’s.

Silvertips struggling to turn shots into goals

Everett is creating more scoring chances than its opponents but needs to convert chances into goals.

Seahawks’ Clark reflects on teammate Avril’s injury

The young defensive end and protege of the veteran sees how suddenly careers can change.

Most Read