Healthy Ausmus back behind plate

Healthy Ausmus back behind plate

LOS ANGELES -- Healthy after back surgery, 41-year-old backup catcher Brad Ausmus returned to the Dodgers' lineup on Saturday for the first time since April.

Manager Joe Torre delivered the message to Ausmus on Friday night during a 6-1 loss to the Mets.

"Last night during the game, I said, 'It's you tomorrow,'" Torre said. "'Game of the week!' was the first thing that came out of his mouth. That's his personality."

Ausmus went 1-for-4 in his only game played this season before a herniated disk threatened to keep him out until even later in the season. He recovered from the surgery ahead of schedule.

Having Ausmus' presence behind the plate for rookie Carlos Monasterios' start on Saturday was appealing to Torre. Monasterios has bounced between the bullpen and the rotation this season.

"I don't want to make him older than he is, but he's sort of comfortable for a pitcher to pitch to because he thinks," Torre said of Ausmus. "He thinks like a pitcher. He's had great experience through the years."