Ausmus catching on as manager of Team Israel

Ausmus catching on as manager of Team Israel

Ausmus catching on as manager of Team Israel
CINCINNATI -- Brad Ausmus, in his second season as special assistant to the general manager, arrived in Cincinnati on Tuesday after bouncing around the Padres' Minor League affiliates, where he works with catchers in the system.

Ausmus, who retired following the 2010 season after catching 18 seasons in the big leagues, worked with catchers during Spring Training and has now been able to circle back to see how they have progressed.

"It's good to see where they are in relation to where they were four months ago," Ausmus said. "And it also allows me to see if any fine-tuning is needed. Also, it gives me a chance to see other players in our organization."

It's also given Ausmus a chance to see players in other organizations, players who might potentially be a fit for Ausmus' upcoming gig as manager of the Israeli team for September's World Baseball Classic qualifier in Jupiter, Fla.

"We're in the process of planning out the roster," Ausmus said. "We had to pare the list of [potential] players down to 50 and then down again to 28. But because I haven't seen most of these guys, we're creating the roster based on scouting reports and word of mouth."

Team Israel will compete in a four-team qualifier that includes South Africa, Spain and France. The one team that emerges from the qualifier advances to the World Baseball Classic in the spring of 2013.

"I think we should be able to compete," Ausmus said.

Because the qualifier is being held during the regular season, Major League players won't be able to take part, but could play in the spring if Team Israel advances.

"I think it's actually better this way because [in September] Minor Leaguers are just coming off of their season," Ausmus said. "It would be nice to have Major Leaguers involved, but if it were in November, it would be in the middle of their offseason -- except for the teams playing in the World Series."