Ausmus was selected by the New York Yankees in the 48th round of the 1987 MLB June Amateur Draft and played 18 MLB seasons. The 52-year-old spent the first three-plus years of his career with the San Diego Padres before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in June 1996.
Ausmus was then sent to the Houston Astros in December 1996, where he played the next two campaigns. In January 1999, the backstop rejoined the Tigers after being traded again, and he put together his best MLB season that year.
During the 1999 season, Ausmus set career-highs in home runs (nine), RBIs (54), on-base percentage (.365), slugging percentage (.415) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.779), while recording 12 stolen bases and earning his first and only All-Star appearance as well. He was traded yet again to the Astros in December 2000 and stayed with Houston for the next eight seasons, capturing three Gold Glove Awards.
Ausmus capped off his playing career with 57 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers across the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
As a manager, he went 314-332 in four years with the Tigers and 72-90 one year in charge of the Angels.