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Hollimon impressing in temporary stay

Hollimon leaving a long impression

SEATTLE -- Michael Hollimon will likely return to Triple-A Toledo when Ramon Santiago is ready to come off the disabled list, likely next week if Santiago's rehab work goes as planned. Hollimon will go back to being an everyday infielder with regular at-bats, while Santiago will go back to the accustomed role he has filled well since last season.

The way that Hollimon has played when given a chance, though, it isn't hard to envision Hollimon back up in the big leagues in the near future. While Hollimon has picked up plenty about what it takes to succeed in the Majors from his stint, the Tigers have gotten an idea about what he can bring to a Major League club -- including, now, the surprising power in his bat.

"I like him," manager Jim Leyland said. "I like him a lot."

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Hollimon will get his second start in three days on Saturday at Seattle. Leyland indicated after Friday's loss that he'll likely put Hollimon back in the lineup. He's expected to be back at shortstop in place of the struggling Edgar Renteria.

The stories about Hollimon from Triple-A Toledo this season included not just a big number of home runs -- 12 in just 44 games with the Mud Hens -- but a number of big home runs. One of them supposedly cleared the roof of an refurbished building beyond right field at Toledo's Fifth Third Field that houses the Mud Hens' offices, a local restaurant and other facilities, a place not many hitters have reached in the ballpark's seven-year history.

His first big league home run Thursday night was a surprising shot, too, even to Hollimon himself. His drive to left-center field off of a Mark Lowe inside fastball kept carrying to the point where Mariners center fielder Jeremy Reed ran out of room.

"I knew that I'd squared it up pretty good," Hollimon said Thursday night. "I didn't know that it was going to go out, so I just put my head down and ran as hard as I could. And when I hit first base, I looked up and saw the center fielder at the wall. It went a little farther than I thought."

The funny part was that Hollimon kept on running at a good pace even after he knew it was out. He just didn't realize how fast he was going.

"I might've been flying, but I just thought I was coasting," Hollimon said. "I was pretty excited, to say the least."

So were many of his teammates in the dugout.

"I was so fired up for him," Brandon Inge said. "I pull for him because he's one of those guys that really pays attention, that really listens, wants to do things the right way and plays hard. He wants to win, more importantly. Those are the kind of guys that you want up here, guys that want to win, not guys that want to go for personal stats."

Inge, too, had heard about the power, but never witnessed it until then.

"Everyone I had heard said that when he hits them, watch out, because he hits them a long way," Inge said.

It'll take more than that to get him to stick in the Majors, but Leyland sees potential. Hollimon has played the vast majority of his games at shortstop with Detroit, even though he was a second baseman for all but one game at Toledo this season before being called up.

"He's a little crude yet defensively, but I like what I see," Leyland said. "I think he's going to be fine. He's definitely a very good prospect. He's getting his feet wet a little bit. This is a good thing for him. I'm sure when Santiago comes back, that'll probably be the move we make. I'm sure he's aware of that. I think this has been a good tonic for him to get an idea what it's like up here."

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

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