"It was more about getting Kelly into the game," Ausmus said. "You don't want guys on the bench for too long of a period of time or you can't count on them in a big situation. They have to get some at-bats. Nick didn't need a day off, but Kelly needed a day on."
The Tigers were off on Tuesday and had a rainout on Thursday. With two more off-days scheduled next week, Ausmus wants to get the role players in where he can.
"With all these off-days and the rainout, it could end up being that guys don't play for two weeks if you don't find them a spot to put them in," he said. "It's unfair to them to ask them two weeks into the start of the season to perform."
Kelly went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple in the Tigers' 7-6 win.
Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.