"They told me that they wanted me to look at a high-school catcher about an hour north of San Diego, so I drove up there to watch him," he said. "When I came back, they asked me what I thought about him, and I said I had no idea. He wasn't ready for the big leagues, but I didn't have any way of projecting him to the major-league level."
Ausmus said the hardest part was adjusting his expectations after a long major-league career.
"I'd spent 18 years in the big leagues, so that was my barometer," he said. "So now I'm watching high-school kids and I'm thinking, 'These guys are terrible.'
"I could see what they were doing wrong, but I didn't have enough scouting knowledge to say that this guy was a prospect and that guy didn't have a chance."
To his great relief, the Padres ignored Ausmus and drafted the catcher in question, Austin Hedges, in the second round of the 2011 draft. Hedges is now in Double-A in San Diego's system and is ranked as one of the top-25 prospects in baseball by both Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com.
"I worked with him in San Diego," Ausmus said with a laugh. "It turns out he was pretty good after all."
For that reason, Ausmus will be letting the experts run the draft room on Thursday evening. He'll stick to managing.