LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brad Ausmus played third base for the last three innings of the Astros' game with the Tigers on Tuesday night, an appearance that was highlighted by a laser throw to first to retire Gary Sheffield in the seventh.

"I like it better when there aren't any balls hit to me," Ausmus quipped.

Manager Cecil Cooper said before the game that he planned to play Ausmus at third at some point against Detroit. Ausmus will be considered an emergency infielder this season, and the catcher has taken numerous grounders during batting practice this spring to prepare for duty.

"I doubt he'll ever get to [play] shortstop, but I can see third base, second base, first base for sure," Cooper said. "Under the right circumstances. Or, I should say, dire circumstances. That's a better word."

Ausmus received high fives from his teammates upon returning to the dugout following his throw to retire Sheffield.

"I'm not used to standing around doing nothing between pitches," Ausmus said. "And I'm not used to being cold. I usually am constantly doing something."