Report: Brad Ausmus to be fired at season’s end

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Big news out of Detroit: Brad Ausmus will be fired at the end of the regular season.

The Detroit Free Press reported this morning that team owner Mike Ilitch intends to fire Ausmus after this season ends. They further report that Illitch and others in the organization have been displeased with Ausmus for some time but that former team president Dave Dombrowski “fought off” their criticism and protected Ausmus. Dombrowski is now the Red Sox team president, having been dismissed by Illitch earlier this season.

The Tigers are in last place in the American League’s Central Division with a 64-76 record in 2015. Overall, he has a 154-148 record in his just under two seasons as Tigers’ manager. The Tigers won the Central last year. Ausmus is under contract with the Tigers through the 2016 season with a team option for 2017.

This is Ausmus’ first-ever managerial job. He is part of a trend of several recent managerial hires of former players with little or no big league coaching or managing experience, including Mike Matheny in St. Louis, Robin Ventura in Chicago, Walt Weiss in Colorado, and Mike Redmond in Miami. Redmond’s replacement — Dan Jennings — upped the ante in that he had no coaching, managing or playing experience. The idea behind the trend: a manager is thought of by many as being merely the conduit through which front office decisions and strategies are to be communicated. Whether this is a good idea is open for serious debate. There can be no debate, however, that when the executive who put such a beast in place is gone, part of that equation is no loner operative.

In any event, Ausmus — considered by experts in the field to be baseball’s most handsome manager — played for the Tigers on two occasions in his career and was traded away twice, so he has some experience in leaving Detroit. As he is widely respected for his intelligence and work ethic, I would expect that he will have no trouble landing another job, either as a front office assistant or on a major league coaching staff.

Happy trails, Brad.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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