Andrew Romine could play all nine positions in one game soon for Tigers

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Sep 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Andrew Romine (17) fields a ground ball in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The value that Andrew Romine brings to the Detroit Tigers is undeniable. Since arriving via trade from the Los Angeles Angels in March of 2014, Romine has elevated his role and value by becoming a super utility player.

Primarily a middle infielder with the Angels, the 31-year-old has expanded his defensive prowess into the outfield now, serving as a very viable defensive replacement late in games for manager Brad Ausmus. He has long wanted to play all nine positions in a single game and he just may get that opportunity.

Ausmus was a guest with Jamie & Stoney on 97.1 The Ticket on Thursday, discussing the real possibility of letting his Swiss Army Knife fielder do something that had not be done since 2000.

“If we’re going to do it, it would have to be some time in the next seven days,” Ausmus said. “I would call (White Sox manager) Rick Renteria or (A’s manager) Bob Melvin and just say, ‘Hey, would this bother you?’ If they thought it was making a mockery of the game, then we wouldn’t do it.”

The Tigers are kicking off an 11-game homestand on Thursday, their final home games of the 2017 season, beginning with four games against the Chicago White Sox. Then they welcome in the Oakland Athletics.

The idea for Ausmus and Romine is for it to be a situation where there is virtually no added implications to the contest. The Tigers, along with the White Sox and A’s, are far and beyond out of playoff contention and their goal this month has been auditioning players for next season.

In addition to getting moral approval from either White Sox manager Rick Renteria or Athletics manager Bob Melvin, Ausmus added that he would not only have to map out a plan in advance so he can move other players around accordingly, but also get the green light from team general manager Brad Ausmus.

“He’s got the ability to play all nine positions,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “In games that don’t particularly matter, it might make the game a little more interesting.”

Romine has played in eight of the nine positions this season for the Tigers, including a relief appearance earlier this year where he pitched 0.2 of an inning, allowing a hit and a walk. He has yet to catch as a big leaguer in his career and has long been the team’s “last resort” emergency catcher.

Ausmus, a former big league catcher himself, understands the difficulties and strains catching can have not only for the player but his battery mate as well on the mound.

“The truth is you’d really want the pitcher to be comfortable with the fact that this is happening,” Ausmus said. “It’s their career, and they’ve got an inexperienced catcher back there.”

Romine said he has gotten some advice from his brother, Yankees catcher Austin Romine, should he have the chance to complete the feat.

“My brother was like, ‘Just catch it. If you do get in there, don’t try to do anything, don’t try to frame anything. Just put your glove in front of it and catch it,'” Romine said.

Andrew would become just the fifth player ever to play all nine defensive positions in a single game. Ironically, the last to do it was another former Tiger in Shane Halter, back in 2000. Remarkably, Halter was one of two major league players to accomplish this in the 2000 season (Scott Sheldon, TEX – September 6, 2000).

Perhaps even more ironic is that Ausmus played a big role when the Tigers allowed Halter to play all over the field. Catching at the time, the now Tigers’ skipper had to play all over the infield, sans shortstop, to accommodate the move, or moves rather.

Be on the lookout over the next 7-11 games for the Tigers to see when and if Romine finds his way at every position at Comerica Park.

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