After impressive debut, Mercedes optioned

After impressive debut, Mercedes optioned

DETROIT -- Once upon a time this season, Melvin Mercedes looked like he was being put on a fast track to the big leagues. Then his struggles at Triple-A Toledo seemingly had him destined to spend the year at the back of the Mud Hens' bullpen. Now, he has two scoreless Major League innings on his record.

He was called up only when Jim Johnson needed more time in Toledo to get his work in for a return to the big leagues, and he was sent back to Toledo on Saturday night once Johnson was called up.

Still, Mercedes made the most of his outing in Friday's 7-2 loss.

"I feel good," Mercedes said. "I'm very happy."

Mercedes retired all six Mariners he faced, the last two by strikeout. He hadn't pitched two perfect innings in any of his 41 outings in Toledo this year; his longest outing without a baserunner was a four-out save on April 28.

"He threw well, kept the ball down, did a good job in his Major League debut," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He got outs for us. He didn't seem nervous, seemed very comfortable."

The 23-year-old Mercedes became the 11th player to make his Major League debut this year with the Tigers, nine of them pitchers. The latter is the highest total for the Tigers since 2011.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.