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Tigers get change of pace with some hoops

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The odd sound around the Tigers' clubhouse Sunday afternoon was the bounce of a basketball. In this case, it was manager Brad Ausmus' doing, as part of his latest effort to break up the monotony of early Spring Training workouts.

Ausmus, who plays basketball in an over-40 league at home in San Diego during the offseason, decided to hoop it up against his players in a shooting contest. It wasn't full-fledged basketball, but enough of a break from baseball to provide a change of pace.

"Bud Black did it in San Diego," Ausmus said, "so I kind of brought it over."

Teams were generally organized by position, with catchers, infielders, outfielders and members of the coaching staff opposing each other. Those players who weren't picked for their team were eligible to be drafted by Torii Hunter's squad.

It wasn't the first time a Tigers player made news on the court. Austin Jackson's dunk at the end of an offseason workout drew plenty of pageviews online last month after Hunter tweeted the link. That's a lot different, however, than a jumper.

"The jumper is gone," Jackson lamented Sunday. "If you don't practice it, it goes."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.
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