Tag:Brad Ausmus
Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 5:06 pm

Ausmus talks about catching on NPR

Brad AusmusBy C. Trent Rosecrans

I'll admit it -- when I'm in my car listening to the radio, there's a much better chance I'm listening to NPR than any type of sports talk radio. I enjoy sports, but not so much the sports talk genre -- heck, even when I worked in the medium, I didn't listen to it much.

That said, I do enjoy talk about baseball on the radio, if just not how it's usually done. So today I was pretty excited when Danny Knobler IMed me this story -- former big league catcher Brad Ausmus is on NPR's Fresh Air today.

The audio from the story is available on the website, but here are some highlights from Ausmus, who retired after 18 seasons last year:

• "I remember walking up the stairs one season when I had a newborn and I'd walk halfway up the landing and I'd have to rest," he says. "There is a physical demand, mostly on your legs."

• "As a base runner, if you're running towards home and the catcher is about to catch the ball or already has the ball, that's when you want to hit him," he says. "That's when you want to jostle him — just before he hits it or hit him hard enough so he drops it. That's ... the time when the contact comes into play at home plate."

• "[I'm thinking] what's the score, what inning are we in, how many outs, what's this hitter's weakness, what's this pitcher's strengths, who's on deck, who could pinch hit, who is up after the hitter on deck — and you kind of go through all of these things in an instant," says Ausmus. "And then you make a decision and put down the next signal. [You're also thinking] how did we get this guy out last time, what pitches did he see, what pitches did we just throw — so there's about 10 to a dozen things that you go through in your mind before you put that signal down."

• "Generally you try to accommodate the umpire — this guy's making decisions on balls and strikes and the last thing you want to do is make him angry," says Ausmus. "And you get to know these guys. ... You have a rapport with them and you know who you can joke around with — so there is a relationship there that goes beyond business."

Anyway, it should go up on the NPR website later today and be an interesting listen. Catchers are usually among the most intelligent, thoughtful players on the field (despite the "tools of ignorance" lesson) and there's a reason so many managers are former catchers.

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Posted on: September 19, 2010 4:50 pm

Torre will let players manage 2 games

Joe Torre While the schedule says Joe Torre has 12 more games as the Dodgers manager, he will manage just 10 more.

While Torre's long had a tradition of letting a veteran manage the last game of the season, this season he'll do the duties on the final day of the season, but hand over the reigns twice in the final week to players -- once to retiring catcher Brad Ausmus and once to a younger player.

Ausmus managed the last game of the 2009 series for the Dodgers and, like most catchers, is considered a future manager. Ausmus will start the game on Oct. 3.

James Loney is a candidate to manage one of the other games, Torre said.

"I get permission from the other manager and the umpires, and if they object, I don't do it," Torre told reporters (via MLB.com ). "It's like, you think this is so easy? They seem to like hiring the pitching and hitting coaches. One time I had [Roger] Clemens take David Wells out of the game. It was fun. It's nice to give a young player a feel for the game."

Also during his pregame talk, Torre said rumors that he'd return to Mets are "irresponsible."

"I've had no conversations and nobody I know has had any conversations," Torre said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 22, 2010 1:24 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2010 1:27 pm

Dodgers claim Mets catcher

Rod Barajas In a classic late-season move for two teams playing out a disappointing stretch, the Dodgers have acquired catcher Rod Barajas from the Mets for cash. The Dodgers had claimed Barajas off of waivers.

That leaves the Mets with Josh Thole as their starting catcher and Henry Blanco as his backup.

Barajas was on a one-year deal with the Mets worth $500,000, but did have a $400,000 bonus for making the Opening Day roster and up to $1 million in performance bonuses.

Barajas is a classic journeyman catcher, playing with Arizona, Texas, Philadelphia and Toronto before signing with the Mets this past offseason. In parts of 12 seasons, he's hit .237/.282/.408. This season, he's hitting .225/.263/.414 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI.

The Dodgers had been using Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis as their catchers since Russell Martin went on the disabled list. While Barajas doesn't exactly have the world's biggest bat -- he's Mike Piazza compared to the other two. The 41-year old Ausmus has been the better offensive player of the two, hitting .196/.275/.217, while Ellis is hitting .174/.237/.203. Neither has a homer.

The Mets recalled outfielder Jesus Feliciano from Triple-A Buffalo to take Barajas' roster spot.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 5, 2010 8:24 pm

Dodgers' Martin likely out for the season

Russell Martin Add Russell Martin to the list of players we won't see the rest of this season.

"It looks like it's going to be the rest of the year," the Los Angeles Times ' Dylan Hernandez tweets .

Martin is not only done for the Dodgers' season, but also could be done with the Dodgers. Martin was scheduled to undergo an MRI a torn labrum in his right hip.

The Dodgers will use Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis -- a 41-year old and a 29-year old rookie -- to fill Martin's catchers pads.

Neither is the long-term solution for the Dodgers, especially since Ausmus has announced he'd retire after the season.

The Dodgers have to make a choice on whether to tender Martin a contract. He's eligible for arbitration, but could be more expensive than he's worth, especially considering his recent decline.

Here's a look at his last four seasons:
2010: .248/.347/.332 5 home runs, 26 RBI
2009: .250/.352/.329 7 home runs, 53 RBI
2008: .280/.385/.396 13 home runs, 69 RBI
2007: .293/.374/.469 19 home runs, 87 RBI
Martin had been approached earlier in his career about an extension, but chose year-to-year deals. That seems to have backfired on him, not only did he not strike when his performance made him the most valuable, his future is also uncertain. Because he's not under contract for next season, he won't have access to the Dodgers' trainers or facilities as he rehabs from his injury. A team could sign him to an incentive-laden deal and he'd find a place to rehab and work back from his injury. Catchers are still a premium, so someone should take a chance, but it's still an uncomfortable situation for Martin.

Earlier today, the Red Sox said Kevin Youkilis was done for the season and the Indians said goodbye to the rookie season of Carlos Santana.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 5, 2010 12:02 am

Dodgers stuck with Martin injury

Russell Martin The Los Angeles Dodgers today got bad news when learning that Russell Martin tore the labrum in his left hip. The injury plants him on the 15-day disabled list and may wipe him out for the season.

This makes Brad Ausmus the de facto starter, even though the club also recalled A.J. Ellis. Ellis has a tremendous eye, but is also 29 and has yet to nail down even a backup job in the majors. If the Dodgers were more concerned with getting its internal, viable options playing time, Ellis might be able to step into the breach. Instead, he's working on a .204/.286/.224 line in 58 plate appearances during an earlier stint. That comprises 82 percent of Ellis' major-league experience.

Ellis also has minimal time at Triple-A this season in the amount of 10 games, so it will be difficult for the Dodgers to justify putting him in the starting lineup, even if he is their best option. (As good as Ausmus has been defensively over his career, he's made just four appearances on the year prior to Wednesday's game thanks to injury and hit .218/.303/.296 in his last extended time at the plate for the Padres in 2008.)

Due to the ill-advised trading of Carlos Santana for Casey Blake in the 2008 season, the Dodgers suddenly find themselves with minimal depth at the catching position. (One can't assume Santana would have been barrelled over by the NL version of Ryan Kalish and been placed on the disabled list as well.)

The Santana-Blake deal was derided from Day One even though Blake has been a solid contributor for the Dodgers as Santana has morphed into one of the best prospects in the game. Compounding things is a deal the Dodgers made with the Royals, shipping Lucas May and an additional prospect for Scott Podsednik. Good job, Ned Colletti!

The Dodgers could, of course, strike to deepen their catching through a waiver trade, although it's unclear who would be on the block. Even the rebuilding teams don't have much flexibility in this area, so Mr. Ned has his work cut out for him. Given his track record, don't bet on a smart solution.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 25, 2010 4:15 pm

Ausmus calling it quits after season

Brad Ausmus Brad Ausmus' playing career is finished after the season.

"This year is it," Ausmus said, responding to a reporter's question according to ESPN. The 41-year-old backstop put in one game in April before hitting the disabled list with back soreness. He underwent surgery and has only now finally returned.

As to why he didn't just hang it up and instead chose to rehab?

"I signed a contract,'' Ausmus said. "It was my job to get back on the field and do it as quickly as possible, hopefully without having any setbacks.''

Ausmus, considered by many to be a future major-league manager, played 10 of his 18 seasons with the Houston Astros. He was originally drafted by the Yankees, then was plucked by the Rockies in the 1992 expansion draft. He was traded to the Padres in 1993 and made his major-league debut later that season. He increasingly received playing time, sharing time behind the dish until 1996 when he was shipped to Detroit along with Andujar Cedeno and a minor-leaguer for John Flaherty and Chris Gomez.

After the season, he was sent to the Houston Astros along with Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash -- perhaps the greatest collection of average relievers ever dealt. He started two seasons for Houston then was sent right back to Detroit along with Nitkowski for two minor-leaguers, two non-descript major-leaguers and Paul Bako.

Another two years went by, and Ausmus went right back to Houston. He did so as one of the better catchers in the game, combining for his two best seasons according to OPS. His career year was in 1999, when as a 30-year-old, he hit .275/.365/.415 in 527 plate appearances and was named to his only All-Star team.

But it wasn't enough. In the latest trade back to Houston was with Doug Brocail (these two teams really loved exchanging the same players, eh?) and Nelson Cruz -- no, not that Nelson Cruz -- for Roger Cedeno, Chris Holt and Mitch Meluskey.

Ausmus then ripped off eight straight seasons with the Astros before joining the Dodgers as a backup for 2009.

And now, he's at the end of the line.

Ausmus will never be considered a good hitter -- a career OPS of .670 to date -- but produced enough in his prime years to go along with impeccable character and defense (three Gold Gloves) to be one of the better catchers of the '90s and '00s.

Don't be surprised to see him collect a World Series ring as a manager someday to go along with his NLCS championship ring from 2005.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

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