DETROIT -- Nick Castellanos could well end up using his September stint with the Tigers as a springboard that propels him into the big leagues next Opening Day. That's what his manager is hoping.
Cracking the roster for this postseason, however, probably isn't going to happen. Jim Leyland isn't saying much about his roster decisions yet, especially given his hesitation to say anything related to the playoffs until they clinch a spot, but he's preparing people for that decision.
"I think the best way to put it with him right now is to get his feet wet a little bit, give him a shot once in a while," Leyland said. "I would say that he'd come into Spring Training next year with an opportunity to make this club. I'm assuming he'll get an opportunity to make the team next spring."
As for the postseason, Leyland said, "Off the top of my head, without etching anything in stone, I would say if we get in, I think that would be unlikely that he would be on the roster."
Off the top of his head, Leyland isn't expecting many surprises at all when the time comes to make out a 25-man playoff roster. He isn't expecting many tough decisions either.
"When it comes down the roster, personally, I'll just leave it at this: I think it'll be a no-brainer," Leyland said.
When Castellanos picked up some starts last week, there was some intrigue about that. With Detroit struggling against left-handed starters and the Tigers trying to find some momentum on the road, the top prospect made three starts in a five-day stretch. Matt Tuiasosopo, meanwhile, went 12 days without a start despite more than a few games against lefties; his only playing time from Sept. 4-13 was a pair of late-inning appearances replacing Prince Fielder at first base in games long since decided.
While Leyland got a look at Castellanos against big league pitching, Tuiasosopo worked with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. Now, the balance has reversed. Tuiasosopo, 4-for-11 off White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale entering Saturday, made his fourth start of the week.
As for Castellanos, Leyland said, "Right now, you kind of just pick your spots. He's not going to play much right now, to be honest with you."
Depending on how soon the Tigers clinch their third straight division title, Leyland left open the opportunity for Castellanos to make some starts over next week's road trip to give some starters a break. That could give him a chance to make a start or two in his native South Florida when the Tigers close the regular season against the Marlins in Miami.
What builds from there is a question that's probably going to have to wait until next year.