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Tigers – Orioles ALDS Game 3: Don Kelly starts in center field for do-or-die game

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has elected to start Don Kelly in center field instead of Ezequiel Carrera, as Rajai Davis is sidelined for continuing soreness.

Hannah Foslien

DETROIT — With the Tigers facing elimination Sunday, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus held center fielder Rajai Davis out of the lineup as he's still feeling soreness from the pelvic ligament injury. Sunday morning Ausmus said that the cooler weather was part of the reason Davis was held out of the lineup as it was a previous issue.

Instead of going with the usual course of action, Ausmus flipped a 180, choosing to start utility player Don Kelly in place of Davis rather than Ezequiel Carrera. Ausmus had said on Saturday that Kelly was in the mix when he was asked about who would start on Sunday if Davis was unavailable, and that held true when the lineup was announced on Sunday. Kelly will bat ninth, with Davis available to pinch-hit if necessary.

"Zeke (Carrera) probably runs a little bit better," Ausmus said. "Donnie (Kelly), obviously, has a little more experience."

Ausmus said it was a gut feeling to go with Kelly instead of Carrera and that both were about the same defensively, but it speaks volumes when the manager opts to start Kelly over Carrera in the most important game of the year.

Carrera does offer more speed in center field and he's shown that on the basepaths, but Carrera's ability to play the position has been filled with holes, defensively.

Also, Ausmus said he spoke to Tigers relievers Saturday, but as usual, he would not comment as to what he told them. If needed, Ausmus did say Anibal Sanchez would be available, but his use of Sanchez would likely remain about the same.

Tigers

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Torii Hunter, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. J.D. Martinez, LF

6. Alex Avila, C

7. Nick Castellanos, 3B

8. Andrew Romine, SS

9. Don Kelly, CF

SP: David Price, LHP

Orioles:

1. Nick Markakis, RF

2. Steve Pearce, 1B

3. Adam Jones, 1B

4. Nelson Cruz, DH

5. Delmon Young, LF

6. J.J. Hardy, SS

7. Nick Hundley, C

8. Ryan Flaherty, SS

9. Jonathan Schoop, 2B

SP: Bud Norris, RHP