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Tigers beat Florida Southern in Ausmus' debut

AP - Sports

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -- Brad Ausmus was a winner in his first game as a manager as the Detroit Tigers beat Florida Southern 12-0 Tuesday in an exhibition matchup.

Steve Lombardozzi had two hits in his Tigers debut and seven pitchers held the Division II school to just three hits.

Steven Moya had a double, triple and four RBIs for Detroit and Daniel Fields and Eugenio Suarez each homered.

Ausmus is replacing Jim Leyland as the Tigers manager. Leyland led the Tigers to two trips to the World Series in eight seasons. Detroit is the defending three-time AL Central champions.

Ausmus took his first win as just another ballgame.

''It was just different to be finally playing against guys in a different uniform,'' Ausmus said. ''It's good to get the rust off and go on from there.''


Highlights from the Tigers' camp and their win over Florida Southern:


The Tigers went with long-shot candidate Drew VerHagen to start the spring opener. He pitched two hitless innings and struck out two. VerHagen is a non-roster invitee who went 7-8 last year, splitting time between Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie.


Starting catcher Alex Avila is struggling with back spasms and sat out against Florida Southern. He's expected to play on Thursday when the Tigers return to Lakeland.


Leyland made an appearance in camp, his first this spring. Leyland stepped down last fall after eight years at the Tigers helm. Ausmus said Leyland is invited any time he wants and that they have talked often during the off season. Leyland watched Florida Southern take batting practice but stayed out of the Tigers clubhouse.


The Tigers came to terms with RHP Jose Ortega, RHP Luke Putkonen, RHP Evan Reed, LHP Kyle Lobstein, OF Steven Moya, IF Nick Castellanos, and RHP Drew Smyly. Smyly is a leading candidate for a spot in the starting rotation and Castellanos is expected to start at third base.


The Tigers will travel to Walt Disney World to take on the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. Smyly will start for the Tigers, followed by Justin Miller, Phil Coke, Al Albuquerque, Evan Reed, Anibal Sanchez, Luis Marte, and Blaine Hardy. Freddy Garcia will start for Atlanta.

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