LAKELAND, Fla. -- How much will Tigers manager Brad Ausmus consider his starters' pitch counts before he heads out to the mound and signals to the bullpen? To answer that question with another question: Who's on the mound that day?
Justin Verlander threw more than 120 pitches four times last season, nine times in 2012 and 10 times in '11. Max Scherzer topped 115 pitches seven times last year, and Anibal Sanchez eclipsed that mark four times, including a 130-pitch, one-hit shutout on May 24. Those three have proven their durability, and Verlander in particular is known for his ability to get stronger as the game progresses.
So what does the Tigers' new manager think about pitch counts?
"It'll factor," Ausmus said. "Somewhere along the line, people got married to that 100-pitch count, to the point where even Minor League guys, when they were coming out, they were staring at the pitch count on the scoreboard saying, 'All right, my job is done.' I don't think you have that as much here."
Ausmus admitted he could take on a different approach, perhaps a more cautious one, with lefty Drew Smyly, as he's entering the rotation after spending all of last season in the bullpen. But don't expect Verlander, Scherzer and Sanchez to start eyeing the scoreboard when they've thrown their 100th pitch.
"I don't think guys like Verlander, Scherzer or Sanchez are concerned about the 100-pitch count," Ausmus said. "I don't know that I will with those guys."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.