Ausmus will work to get Moya playing time

Ausmus will work to get Moya playing time

DETROIT -- Slugging outfield prospect Steven Moya was expected to be a weekend fill-in when the Tigers called him up last Thursday. He's still here.

Now manager Brad Ausmus has to figure out what to do with him.

"To be honest, if you asked me when Moya got here who was going to go down on Sunday, I probably would have told you Moya," Ausmus said. "But he played well enough to deserve a little bit more opportunity."

With pressure on the Tigers during this nine-game homestand to regain momentum after 11 losses in 13 games over the previous two weeks, the Tigers kept Moya after activating Cameron Maybin from the disabled list, instead sending down Opening Day center fielder Anthony Gose.

Maybin makes long-awaited return to Tigers

That leaves Maybin as the unquestioned starter in center. But it also leaves three corner outfielders for two spots, with Moya fighting for playing time and Ausmus trying to give Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez more chances to heat up while still providing Moya with a chance to show what he can do.

"We're just going to kind of see how it goes," Ausmus said. "[Moya's] swinging the bat pretty well. He's another left-handed bat. We don't have a lot of left-handed bats in the lineup. If we need to give a corner guy a break, or we want to give Cam a break and put Upton in center, we have any of those options. But it'll be a little bit of a juggling act.

"We'll see how it goes. ... Justin has a long track record. J.D. has a track record the last few years of being a pretty darn good all-around player. So it won't be easy, but we'll figure it out."

Moya's playing time during the series against Baltimore came with Upton starting in center. He responded by going 6-for-15 with two doubles and a triple, including a three-hit game on Sunday that left him a home run shy of the cycle. Though Upton might get an occasional start in center in bigger ballparks, Maybin is essentially the everyday center fielder.

"Who knows how long this change will be in place?" Ausmus said. "But Moya swung the bat pretty well in Baltimore. We've been kind of looking for some consistent offense, and we just thought it was another option."

It was a welcome option for Moya, whose previous big league time had been as a September callup.

"It makes me happy," Moya said. "It makes me want to keep working harder and harder to stay."

LPGA visits Comerica Park: LPGA pro golfer Gerina Piller spent time on the field before Monday's game against the Twins.

Piller was with a group from Meijer promoting the Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, Mich., in June.

Piller, ranked among the top 20 on the LPGA Tour, said it was a special moment for her to be around Major Leaguers.

"I grew up playing baseball," Piller said. "I was a pitcher and a catcher with the guys. So it's always a good time to be out here. It's pretty awesome you get to meet these players."

Piller tried to convince first baseman Miguel Cabrera to play in the Pro-Am event at the tournament, but he told her he "is terrible at golf."

"It's just pretty cool to see someone that is a top athlete at what they do, and you've got that in common," Piller said. "It's cool to see them in their element and how they prepare."

Worth noting

Shane Greene is expected to throw another bullpen session in the next couple of days as he works his way back from a blister problem that landed him on the disabled list in late April. If all goes well, he could begin a Minor League rehab assignment later in the week, according to Ausmus.

• The Tigers released pitcher Lucas Harrell on Monday. The former Astros starter went 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in six starts between Toledo and Double-A Erie.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.