Tigers going with Collins to fill void in right field

Fourth outfielder Aviles gives Ausmus options with right-handed bat

Tigers going with Collins to fill void in right field

DETROIT -- The Tigers find themselves in a playoff hunt coming out of the All-Star break, and they know they need to make some adjustments to make a push.

One of those adjustments was sending Steven Moya back to Triple-A Toledo to work on his game -- both at the plate and in the outfield. Moya was 3-for-26 with 15 strikeouts since June 30, and he was struggling to make plays in the outfield.

Tyler Collins started in left field in place of Justin Upton in Friday's win over the Royals. He went 1-for-4 with a game-tying solo home run. Meanwhile, Moya went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and misplayed a fly ball at the warning track. Collins replaced him in right field on Saturday.

Moya was sent to Toledo to make room for Upton, who was activated from the bereavement list Sunday. Collins will stay on the Tigers' roster and is expected to make the starts in right field, though manager Brad Ausmus said he will also take into consideration which players are hot and which players are struggling.

Mike Aviles is the Tigers' fourth outfielder and gives Ausmus more options with his right-handed bat.

Collins went through some struggles of his own as he was optioned to Toledo early in the season before getting called up after the break. He knows what Moya is going through, but thinks the youngster will be able to figure things out.

"He's very talented and he's still young," Collins said. "He got a good taste, and I know what that feels like to get a good chunk out of the way. Maybe it didn't go the way you wanted it to go. You know, I dropped the ball in Kansas City my first year. It happens. The ball flies a little differently, and you've just got to get adjusted. He'll be fine."

Moya seemed to have a better handle on playing the outfield in the Minors than he did in the big leagues. He made just two errors in 48 games at Toledo and four in 25 games in Detroit, plus a number of misplayed balls that were not ruled errors, including the one Saturday.

Collins said one of the adjustments fielders need to make in going from the Minor Leagues to the Majors is dealing with the extra deck of seating.

"I think the ball flies different," Collins added. "You hear the rumors -- the balls are harder -- and I think that's true a little bit. It's not a huge adjustment, but definitely, you want to see a few."

Ausmus was a little perplexed by Moya's struggles, but thinks it could be just a part of the process of becoming a Major Leaguer.

"He didn't want to make mistakes, and as a result, you become a little cautious," Ausmus said. "And I think sometimes that can work in the opposite direction."

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.