MINNEAPOLIS — Andrew Romine is set to play all nine.
Positions, that is. Not just innings.
With the last-place Detroit Tigers finishing up a lost season and the Minnesota Twins locked in as the second AL wild card, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus plans to play Romine at every spot on the diamond during Saturday night’s game at Target Field.
The 31-year-old utilityman would become the fifth major leaguer to accomplish the feat and first since Shane Halter did it for the Tigers on Oct. 1, 2000, against the Twins. Ausmus started in that game 17 years ago and played four positions himself in Detroit’s 12-11, extra-inning win.
The idea for Romine to duplicate the achievement originated two years ago when Ausmus and Romine were discussing Halter’s historic performance and decided the versatile Romine would be the perfect fit to pull it off for these Tigers.
"I think because only four people have done it, he can put his name in the record books," Ausmus said.
Romine’s mother, wife and two sisters were flying in for the game. His wife, travelling from California, had to move her flight up a day because it was previously assumed Romine would play each position in Sunday’s regular-season finale.
Ausmus opted to move the stunt to the season’s penultimate day because of the threat of rain on Sunday. Romine had wanted to do it in front of the home fans during the Tigers’ last homestand, but the team decided against it because of how many games were left in the season.
"I think there were some in the front office that felt like it wasn’t the right time," Romine said.
Romine began his career as a lightly used infielder with the Los Angeles Angels, but has improved his hitting a bit since moving to Detroit in 2014 and earned more opportunities in a part-time role. He was batting .235 with four home runs and 25 RBIs this season and had played every position but catcher, the only spot he had yet to play in his career.
"Everybody just keeps telling me, ‘Catch it,"’ said Romine, recalling his teammates’ advice.
Romine’s younger brother, Austin, is the New York Yankees’ backup catcher and a strong defensive backstop.
Twins manager Paul Molitor wasn’t as enthused about the spectacle but understood why Romine would want to pull it off.
"I’m not a huge fan of it," Molitor said. "I guess if your team’s in that position, then go ahead and let it fly. It’s not a big deal. . I’m sure maybe it’s been on his bucket list for a while."