Tigers call up power-hitting Hessman

Tigers call up power-hitting Hessman

The Tigers purchased the contract of infielder Mike Hessman on Monday, giving the International League's leading slugger his first Major League stint since 2004.

Hessman leads the International League with 27 home runs and 86 RBIs to go with a .256 average, helping the Mud Hens stay in contention for a possible third consecutive league title. The 29-year-old has been on a pace to at least challenge the club's home run record set by Phil Hiatt in 1996. He'll likely miss out on that now, but it's a small price to pay for a shot in the big leagues.

Hessman enjoyed late-season callups in 2003 and 2004 with the Braves, who drafted him in 1996 and kept him in their system until he signed with the Tigers as a Minor League free agent following the 2004 season. He's 15-for-90 (.167) in his big-league career with four home runs and eight RBIs.

With Marcus Thames injured and Craig Monroe back in an everyday role in left field, Hessman is expected to serve as a backup to first baseman Sean Casey. He can also play third base if needed.

To make room for Hessman on the roster, the Tigers optioned outfielder Timo Perez back to Toledo. Perez was called up and made two starts last week when Thames went on the disabled list and Monroe was dealing with muscle spasms in his back.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.