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Ausmus thinks Romine may be pressing a bit

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BOSTON -- For the first time since taking over regular shortstop duties from Alex Gonzalez, Andrew Romine saw his batting average drop under .200 Saturday night. It was a rough fall under the Mendoza Line, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against the Red Sox to send his average to .197.

Romine entered Sunday night's series finale hitless in his last 10 at-bats, and amidst a 2-for-23 slump since his three-hit performance against the Royals two weeks ago. The Tigers have made it clear that defense is their primary concern at shortstop, something Romine made clear he understands earlier in the week.

That said, manager Brad Ausmus said Romine might be pressing at the plate anyway.

"When you're struggling, you want to contribute, you want to help," Ausmus said. "You certainly don't want to fail. But people go through slumps in this game. He had a tough one, but most guys in that clubhouse have struck out three, four times in a game. I know I have."

One way Romine could work his way out of the slump would be to use his speed to leg out an infield hit. Getting the ball on the ground, however, has been a challenge for him lately. His last ground ball was an infield single for his last hit last Sunday against the Twins.

Add in Gonzalez's numbers before his release and Danny Worth's numbers, and Tigers shortstops entered Sunday batting .200 this season, third-lowest in the American League. Their .495 OPS and .263 on-base percentage ranked next to last, ahead of only Seattle. Defensively, however, their Ultimate Zone Rating ranked them fifth.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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