Ausmus to play matchups with Gose, Davis

Ausmus to play matchups with Gose, Davis

DETROIT -- Anthony Gose officially made his Tigers debut on Wednesday, getting the start in center field against right-hander Ricky Nolasco after sitting Opening Day against another Twins righty, Phil Hughes. It was a matchup situation, and it could happen more than people might expect.

With Rajai Davis available, manager Brad Ausmus has his chance to play matchups.

"Raj is going to see probably the vast majority of the lefties," Ausmus said. "Anthony's going to see the majority of the righties. 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, is also going to face righties."

Gose is 1-for-11 for his brief Major League career against Hughes, a tougher batter against left-handed hitters. Gose entered Wednesday's contest 0-for-2 lifetime against Nolasco. Gose is a .208 (25-for-120) hitter lifetime against lefties, compared with .241 (104-for-432) against righties.

Gose and Tigers coaches worked together diligently on improving his approach at the plate, getting his bat quicker and improving his swing through the strike zone to give him a better chance at making contact. He showed an abundance of improvement during Spring Training.

At the same time, as Ausmus noted, he also needs to find playing time for Davis, a surprisingly effective hitter against righties when pressed into action last season by Andy Dirks' injury.

Davis became the regular center fielder down the stretch last season after Austin Jackson was sent to Seattle in the three-team trade that brought David Price to Detroit. Davis played left field more often before that.

"I think Rajai's a better center fielder than he is a left fielder," Ausmus said. "I think having the freedom to run into the alleys without worrying about walls allows him to use his speed more."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.