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By Tammy Bruce
Topic - Brad Ausmus
Torii Hunter puckered up next to the mouth of a wide-eyed alligator - and it was hard to tell if the fun-loving Detroit outfielder was more amused or terrified.
Max Scherzer struck out three in three impressive innings, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Houston Astros 3-0 on Wednesday.
Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks is expected to miss three months because of a back problem that requires surgery.
Jhonny Peralta homered twice against his former team, going deep in his only plate appearances Monday in the St. Louis Cardinals' 8-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Brad Ausmus stood near the cage during batting practice, playing catch with a Detroit coach while chatting amiably with former Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Austin Jackson has already bounced around the batting order a bit at spring training, hitting fifth, sixth and even fourth for the Detroit Tigers.
Scott Feldman pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring start for Houston, allowing only one hit in the Astros' 5-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias is expected to be out for about a week because of a recurring shin problem.
Max Scherzer allowed a second-inning homer by Yankees newcomer Brian McCann, but the Detroit right-hander was otherwise sharp in his first start of the spring Friday, yielding only that one hit in the Tigers' 7-4 loss to the New York Yankees.
Detroit newcomers Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain each pitched a scoreless inning to help the Tigers beat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 on Thursday.
In a spring training game that ended with both teams leaving the field and neither side sure who won, the Detroit Tigers were later awarded a 6-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a rain-shortened exhibition Wednesday.
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.
Matt Williams joined three other managers in Kissimmee for a meeting with MLB officials about the sport's new instant replay challenge system.
Major league teams will each have at least five games this spring where managers can challenge plays as part of the major expansion of instant replay which begins this season.
After two years of trying to outslug the rest of the American League, the Detroit Tigers are taking a new approach.
"The point of the meetings are to kind of get the team together and have some fun and build camaraderie. If it's working, then great," Ausmus said. "We tend to business in those meetings as well, but we have some laughs while we're in there."
Lest anyone think the players are turning their spring training complex into "Animal House" - literally and figuratively - Ausmus says these gatherings involve more than just goofing off.