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“I’ve got to be me,” Ausmus said. “Jim Leyland _ great, Hall of Fame manager. I’m not going to be Jim Leyland. I would never make an attempt to be Jim Leyland. I’m going to be who I am.”

Detroit is one of at least 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 the latest former player to take over a contending team with little managerial experience. Mike Matheny succeeded Tony La Russa in St. Louis after the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011, and Matheny reached the NL championship series in 2012 and won the National League pennant this year.

Former New York Yankees star Don Mattingly is the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team the Cardinals beat in the NLCS this season.

“I was just playing the game three years ago,” Ausmus said. “I have a pretty good understanding of how the locker room dynamic is.”