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Tigers call up Johnson, demote Mercedes

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Tigers purchased the contract of former All-Star pitcher Jim Johnson and optioned reliever Melvin Mercedes to Triple-A Toledo after their 4-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus avoided questions about Johnson before the game, but made the announcement of his promotion at the end of his postgame news conference.

The 31-year-old Johnson made four appearances for Toledo, since signing with Detroit, and allowed two earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Johnson earned 101 saves for Baltimore in the previous two seasons, but then struggled after joining Oakland. He posted a 7.14 ERA in 38 appearances for the A's and managed only two saves before being released on Aug. 1. He signed with Detroit five days later.

Mercedes was called up on Friday and made his major-league debut Saturday, pitching two perfect innings.

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