Four more questions about the meeting followed.
"I don't know how many different ways I can say this," an exasperated Ausmus said.
By all indications, the meeting was to clear the air about reports of the Tigers' intentions on whether to add players or sell them at the July 31 Trade Deadline, including a USA Today report that the Tigers are preparing to be sellers unless team owner Mike Ilitch vetoes it.
The air isn't any clearer around the industry, where officials from teams monitoring the Tigers echoed sentiments team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski. The GM has told reporters -- and other Tigers officials have echoed -- that no final course has been set. That decision could come as soon as Friday, the day after the Tigers' final home game before the Trade Deadline, giving Detroit just a few games to try to make a case for sticking it out.
"I don't subscribe to the theory that we're out of it," Ausmus said. "Four games out of a playoff position [with the Wild Card] is far from out of it. I know everyone wants it to be a big story because the Tigers have been so successful, that all of sudden they're at .500 with the Trade Deadline looming. It's a big story to say the Tigers are sellers. I don't consider four games out of the playoff race a seller."
The Tigers then dropped under .500 on Tuesday night with an 11-9 loss to the Mariners, rallying from an early 4-0 deficit before losing a late lead on Franklin Gutierrez's eighth-inning, pinch-hit grand slam.
Fittingly, David Price is scheduled to start Thursday's matinee. Depending on what the Tigers do, it could be his final start in the Detroit home uniform. It's an odd position for the Tigers, but a familiar position for Price. A year after he was the prize of last year's Trade Deadline, going from Tampa Bay to Detroit after weeks of debate over whether the Rays would trade him, he's back in the same spotlight.
"With the amount of talent that we have in this room, and as good of a team that we feel like we have, it's a little surprising," Price said. "It's just we haven't played as well as we're capable of playing. I think everybody in this clubhouse knows that. We've continued to work hard. It hasn't gone our way thus far."
Asked if his preference would be to stick around, Price said, "Yeah, I want to win here. We have a very good team. This is one of the most talented baseball teams that I've ever been a part of. If we can just play baseball the way we're capable of playing, we'll win games."