By Ashley Dunkak

CBS DETROIT – After sitting on Opening Day, center fielder Anthony Gose will get his first start as a Detroit Tiger on Wednesday, in the second game of the team’s season-opening series against Minnesota.

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Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Gose, who will split time this season with Rajai Davis, understood why he did not get the start Monday. Minnesota’s starter for the game, Phil Hughes, has reverse splits, meaning that even as a right-handed pitcher he has better numbers against left-handed hitters.

“I can’t start both of them, so someone’s feelings are going to be a little bit hurt, so the best I can do is talk to them ahead of time, which is what I did,” Ausmus said. “I had spoken to both of them in spring training about how I saw them, at least starting out, in terms of playing time, so all three of us are on the same page. I don’t think there’ll be any big shock, and usually, as I did last year, I’ll tell these guys the day before they’re playing, sometimes even a couple days before they’re playing.

“Raj is going to see probably most, the vast majority of the lefties, Anthony’s going to see the majority of the righties,” Ausmus continued, “and there’s going to be times where Raj, whether it’s a matchup situation or he just needs to play because we haven’t seen a lefty, he’s also going to face righties. You probably could say the same thing about the catchers.”

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The manager also addressed Wednesday the regularity with which he plans to replace Nick Castellanos at third base late in games. Ausmus took Castellanos out of Monday’s game in the ninth inning with the Tigers leading, 4-0. Ausmus said he would have done the same even if the lead was slimmer.

“Like I told Nick, because he’s working his tail off to get better, if we get to a point where I’m as confident in him as I am in [Andrew] Romine and/or [Hernan] Perez, then maybe we get to a point where Nick stays out there, and I hope he does,” Ausmus said. “I’d rather not bring someone in for Nick. I want him to be the guy, but we also have to – if we have a lead late in the game, depending on the score, the closer the score, the more important keeping that team where they’re at, and I’m going to have to put in our best defense, what I think is our best defense.

“[Romine and Perez] probably have a little bit more range laterally than Nick does at this point, and Nick’s working on his reaction and trying to read the ball off the bat and read the swing before the bat even makes contact with the ball, and he’s gotten better,” Ausmus continued, “but again, I have to put in the defense I think will hold a lead late.”

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