KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Detroit Tigers have a new offensive weapon as they complete their four-game series on Sunday with the Kansas City Royals.
They purchased the contract of corner infielder Casey McGehee from Triple-A Toledo, where he was among the International League leaders with a .323 average, 80 hits and 17 doubles.
McGehee, signed to a minor league contract by the Tigers in spring training, provides a big bat off the bench plus insurance at other positions.
"With some of the minor injuries we've had with Vic (Martinez, right knee) and Cam (Maybin, quad), we needed that fourth position player back," manager Brad Ausmus said. "If we think we need to give Vic a day for his knee, McGehee can DH, or he could play first and let Miggy (Cabrera) get off his feet and DH for a day. It gives us some flexibility."
McGehee, 33, has had some productive years in the majors, hitting .285 with 23 home runs, 38 doubles and 104 RBIs in 2010 with Milwaukee. He batted .287 with four home runs, 29 doubles and 76 RBIs with Miami in 2014, when he was named the National League comeback player of the year after playing in Japan the previous year.
"I called my dad on my way up here, so it brought back a lot of good memories of the first time I got to make that phone call, so, you know, I've been through, pretty much every level of baseball that you can imagine short of being a superstar, being an All-Star," McGehee said. "I've had really good years. I've had really crappy years. OK years. Sent down, released, went to Japan, came back, so I think all those experiences lead into this.
"I think I can enjoy it in a different way than I did before, but at the same time, I've done this long enough to know that, one, your next day is never guaranteed and, two, that it's serious business, so just enjoy it. It's the best that you can get. So all that goes into it."
In 820 games in the majors with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted him in the eighth round in 2003, Milwaukee Brewers, Pirates, Yankees, Giants and Marlins, McGehee has hit 67 home run with 379 RBIs and a .259 average. He has played only 22 games in the American League before joining the Tigers.
McGehee grounded out as a pinch hitter to end the Tigers' 16-5 loss to the Royals.
The Tigers are making changes in their pitching staff, optioning left-handers Matt Boyd and Blaine Hardy to Triple-A Toledo after the game. No word on who the replacements will be or will take Boyd's spot in the rotation.
Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales has reached base in 10 of his past 11 plate appearances. He had four hits, drove in five runs and scored four times on Saturday after struggling much of the season.
"He's a big key to our lineup," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's a big-time run producer. Any time you win the Silver Slugger as the DH, that's probably the toughest spot to win a Silver Slugger because there so many good hitters at that position."
Morales hit .290 with 41 doubles, 22 home runs and 106 RBIs last year, but is hitting .229 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs this season.
Chris Young will start the series finale Sunday against the Tigers. Young is 4-0 with a 1.71 career ERA against Detroit.
The Tigers will counter with RHP Jordan Zimmermann, who is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts at Kansas City.