LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers have yet to officially announce their Minor League signings, but they confirmed reports of various signings, including former Triple-A Toledo slugger Mike Hessman.
Hessman, who turns 36 in March, signed a Minor League contract that does not include a Spring Training invitaton to big league camp. He won't get to compete for a Major League spot, but he'll be back in the spot where he became a minor hero with the Mud Hens from 2005-09.
Hessman hit 140 home runs over five seasons in Toledo, comprising more than half of his 244 home runs in the International League. He needs just 14 to match the league record held by former Buffalo Bison Ollie Carnegie.
"It's more we wanted a famous bat for Toledo," Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila said.
Hessman will be a designated hitter and part-time third baseman in Toledo, according to Avila. Jordan Lennerton is expected to handle the starting duties at first base, Hessman's old job.
Also signed were catcher Ronny Paulino, who will back up top catching prospect James McCann in Toledo, along with right-hander Jhan Marinez and Eduardo Sanchez.