Ausmus not committing to rotation vs. Royals

Ausmus not committing to rotation vs. Royals

MINNEAPOLIS -- Manager Brad Ausmus continues to hold off on announcing his starting pitchers for next weekend's showdown against the Royals. He insists, however, that it's not a matter of gamesmanship.

"There's some moving parts right now," Ausmus said, "so we're not locked in."

Ausmus didn't get into what those parts are, but the plan appears to center on Justin Verlander or rookie left-hander Kyle Lobstein for Friday's series opener.

Friday would be Lobstein's turn in the five-man order, but an off-day on Thursday allows Ausmus to consider skipping him and moving up the other starters. Under that scenario, Verlander could start on Friday on his regular four days' rest.

Verlander battled through some of his lesser stuff on Sunday, including a fastball that started at 90-91 mph and peaked at 93-94. He also has a blister on his thumb that is receiving treatment but has lingered for at least his last two starts.

"That's one [issue]," Ausmus said of the blister, "but that's actually not the major one. The truth is, I'm really not sure who's going to start Friday night yet."

Verlander, for his part, doesn't expect the blister to hinder him, and said that's his only issue right now.

One thing that will not be an issue, Ausmus said, is the standings.

"We've got to win every game," he said.

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.