The Tigers announced today that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Dustin Molleken from Triple-A Toldeo and designated veteran infielder Casey McGehee for assignment in order to clear a spot on the active roster. Additionally, Detroit announced that it has transferred right-hander Drew VerHagen from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list as he deals with thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder.
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McGehee, 33, appeared in just one game with the Tigers and logged one plate appearance upon having his contract selected over the weekend. Prior to his promotion from the minors, he’d been enjoying a nice season with Toledo, hitting .323/.370/.440 with 17 doubles and four homers in 270 plate appearances.
In 2009-10, McGehee looked to have cemented himself as a fixture in the Brewers’ lineup, but his production fell off substantially in 2011-12. After forgettable tenures with the Pirates and Yankees in 2012, he took to Japan and revived his career with a brilliant 2013 season, during which he batted .292/.376/.515 with 28 homers. That performance earned McGehee another crack at the Majors, and he capitalized with the Marlins in 2014, batting .287/.355/.357 while serving as Miami’s primary third baseman. That success, however, was followed by renewed struggles in 2015 between the Giants (who acquired him in an offseason trade) and a second stint with the Fish. After a combined .198/.264/.274 showing between the two teams, McGehee took a minor league pact this winter.
It’ll be interesting to see if McGehee’s strong minor league production this year earns him a look elsewhere. Even if the veteran is unclaimed on waivers, he has enough service time to refuse an outright assignment and seek a new opportunity with a club that offers perhaps a clearer path to a big league role. Speculatively speaking, the Mets could use some depth at the infield corners, and the Royals, too, have seen their starting third baseman go down with a season-ending injury.
As for Molleken, the promotion to the Majors represents the culmination of 13 seasons worth of perseverance. The Canadian-born righty was a 15th-round pick of the Pirates all the way back in 2003 but has yet to throw a pitch in the Major Leagues. The Tigers are his fifth MLB organization, and he’s also spent parts of two seasons in Japan pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters as he’s continued to pursue the big leagues. Molleken has a 4.32 ERA with 8.8 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9 in parts of six Triple-A seasons and has posted some of the best ERAs of his career across the past two seasons, during which time he’s logged a mark of 3.46.