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Bonderman rejoins Tigers on Minors deal

Righty had been with Seattle, missed two seasons following surgery

DETROIT -- The Tigers signed right-hander Jeremy Bonderman to a Triple-A contract Sunday, marking his return to the Detroit organization.

After being designated for assignment by the Mariners on Monday, Bonderman signed with Detroit and will report to Triple-A Toledo for a game in Buffalo on Thursday.

Bonderman opted for Seattle over a Tigers Minor League offer last winter because he wanted to stay close to home. That wasn't a factor this time. The familiarity with the organization and the opportunity to get back to the big leagues were both factors for him.

"It's hard to go that far," Bonderman said, "but it's where I wanted to play."

Bonderman went 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts with Seattle this year. He pitched in eight seasons with the Tigers going 67-77 with a 4.89 ERA in 207 appearances (193 starts). He started Game 4 in the 2006 World Series for Detroit, allowing two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings while walking four and striking out four.

He missed the 2011 and 2012 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. He signed with the Mariners in Spring Training and made his return to the Major Leagues in June.

"When I talked to him, he said he feels like he is 20 years old again," former teammate Justin Verlander said. "So he's not feeling any pain, which is great."

Toledo needed a starting pitcher after Derek Hankins, who made 14 starts with the club this year, left for a team in Korea. Bonderman will take the open spot in the Mud Hens' rotation that Hankins vacated.

There is also an opt-out clause in his contract with the Tigers, if he's not called up to the Major Leagues by a certain date.

"I know a lot of Bondo because I've had him," manager Jim Leyland said following Sunday's 5-0 victory over the Rangers. "I love him to death. He's a wonderful, wonderful teammate. I'm thrilled about that; I didn't know about it until after the game.

"He's going to go to Toledo, throw and see what he does, and we'll just have to wait and see."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @nightengalejr.
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