More than anything, Spring Training prepared the 44-year-old former catcher for his new role.
"That's what I enjoyed when I was playing, the cerebral part of the game where you're thinking things through," Ausmus said Sunday. "It's funny. In Spring Training, it's a lot more hectic, because there are a lot more people on your lineup card and moving parts during the course of a game. In Spring Training games, I'd find where I wasn't paying attention, didn't know the count and [third-base coach] Dave Clark would fill me in.
"I've found, in these games, it comes a lot easier and a lot more intense. Part of that is because there are fewer names on the roster to worry about. You don't have to worry about getting guys in. The game dictates when they're in. I have found it's not difficult to concentrate on the game at hand."
Ausmus knows he's not far removed from his playing days, but there's no itch to be playing again. He has texted with former Tigers manager Jim Leyland a few times since Spring Training for some advice and general comments. Ausmus' favorite part of the job is the camaraderie with the team, no different from his playing days, but there's a different perspective.
"You have more on your plate pre- and postgame in terms of preparation, media," Ausmus said. "During the game, there's not that much more on my plate. When you're a player, you have a lot more going on when you're on defense. If you're not hitting in the bottom half of the inning, there's nothing to do but watch. As a manager, you do have stuff going on in the bottom and top half."
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.