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Romine to have opportunity to contribute at short

DETROIT -- When Andrew Romine started at shortstop Friday night against the Angels, manager Brad Ausmus said he was working off the theory that a player has extra motivation when he faces his old team for the first time. Two days and two more starts later, Romine has a lot more motivation than that.

With Alex Gonzalez gone, Romine now has something to prove to his new club, too.

"Absolutely," Romine said. "I don't know any guy in baseball who wouldn't take it as an opportunity to show what you've got. It's a great spot for me to showcase what I can do. And at the same time, if I can do what I'm capable of, then it's going to help the team win. It works both ways."

Two things he clearly showed this weekend that he can do are field and run. The fielding part was the reason they brought him in after the extent of Jose Iglesias' injury became clear. The speed has caught them by surprise.

After two games of limited action, Romine made one play after another Sunday behind sinkerballer Rick Porcello. His four assists on groundouts included a key sixth-inning double play on Albert Pujols to erase a leadoff walk from Mike Trout in what was then a 1-1 game.

"He's a very consistent shortstop," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "I think, just by his actions, you might not think that he has that much range, but he definitely has a good amount of range and he has a very, very strong arm. I don't think people understand how good of an arm he has, but he's a good player. He's going to continue to work hard and if he continues to get opportunities, he's going to get better."

At the plate, he enjoyed his best game of the season, reaching base all three times up with two singles and a walk. He stole second base the first two times, setting up RBI opportunities for the top of the Tigers batting order, though he was stranded each time.

"If I can get to second with Kinsler and Rajai [Davis], not to mention Torii [Hunter] and [Miguel] Cabrera, that's huge," Romine said. "I've been a leadoff guy my whole career coming up, and then when I made it to the big leagues, I was in the nine hole as a second leadoff guy. It's a familiar spot.

"I know what I'm supposed to do. I get on as the nine-hole. Obviously we have a bunch of guys at the top of the lineup that are going to hit. I just pick the right times. Certain guys, obviously, you let them hit."

That fits into Ausmus' offensive style.

"He's much faster than reported," Ausmus said. "We knew he could run, but he's actually fast. I'd say he's not an above-average runner, he's well above average. That's kind of an added bonus."

He'll get his chances. Though the switch-hitting Romine is expected to platoon at short with right-handed hitting Danny Worth, Ausmus suggested it won't strictly be a righty-lefty mix. With no additional moves seemingly imminent, Romine will get an opportunity.

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