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Tigers' callups ring in arrival with 3-hit games

Injury replacements Hicks, Adduci help ease Detroit's tumultuous week
MLB.com @beckjason

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Adduci thought he was getting another reminder about a uniform violation when Triple-A Toledo manager Mike Rojas signaled to him while he was stepping into the batter's box for his third at-bat at Lehigh Valley on Saturday.

"The last couple series, for some reason, my pocket has been out," Adduci said. "So when they called time, I was [tucking in the pocket]. But then Rojas was waving me over. I didn't know what was going on."

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Adduci thought he was getting another reminder about a uniform violation when Triple-A Toledo manager Mike Rojas signaled to him while he was stepping into the batter's box for his third at-bat at Lehigh Valley on Saturday.

"The last couple series, for some reason, my pocket has been out," Adduci said. "So when they called time, I was [tucking in the pocket]. But then Rojas was waving me over. I didn't know what was going on."

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JaCoby Jones had taken a pitch to his face earlier in Minnesota. The Tigers, for the third time in as many days, needed a callup from the Mud Hens. Rojas and player development director Dave Littlefield recommended Adduci, a 31-year-old journeyman who played the last two years in Korea, for the way he had been hitting in 12 games for the Hens.

Twenty-four hours and two flights later, he was in the visiting clubhouse at Target Field celebrating a three-hit game, helping the injury-depleted Tigers take a 13-4 win Sunday to take two of three from the Twins.

As Adduci put it, what a journey.

"When I went over there [to Korea], I really noticed a change in my mentality," Adduci said. "I really wanted to come back and prove that I can come back to the big leagues and help."

It was one game, he said, but it clearly meant a lot.

On the other end of the clubhouse, his Mud Hens teammate, John Hicks, had received the ball from his first Major League home run, also hit Sunday. Justin Verlander, a fellow Goochland, Va., native and good friend of Hicks' older brother, offered an autographed ball to a fan to get it back.

Video: DET@MIN: Hicks pours in five RBIs on three hits

Another Tigers pitcher, Michael Fulmer, gave Hicks a suit to wear on the flight home. Hicks had bought some shirts and a pair of shoes at Detroit Metro Airport during a layover on his flight from Lehigh Valley to Minneapolis on Saturday, when he was called up to replace injured Miguel Cabrera.

"He kind of had the same day that I had yesterday," Hicks said of Adduci. "It was a long, early morning. I'm happy for him."

Both Hicks and Adduci had three-hit games Sunday, accounting for seven RBIs. Neither was expected to be in the big leagues at this point. Together, they helped manager Brad Ausmus finally have an easy game after one of the busier weeks of his managerial tenure.

Video: DET@MIN: Hicks keeps the rally going with two RBIs

"Baseball can be a tough life, especially for a Minor Leaguer who doesn't get significant time in the big leagues," Ausmus said. "When they do get that opportunity or that taste, I think everyone kind of pulls for them."

Adduci wasn't even in Major League camp with the Tigers. He signed with only an invite to Minor League minicamp, he said, because the Tigers called him first.

"I just wanted my foot in the door to give myself an opportunity to play," Adduci said.

After arriving at Target Field just over an hour before first pitch Sunday, he got it done. Adduci singled his first at-bat in the second inning, his first Major League hit since 2014 with Texas, then drove in two runs an inning later with a bases-loaded, two-out double down the left-field line. He walked in the seventh, and a ninth-inning single capped his day.

Hicks followed Adduci's double in the third with a two-run single. But it was his three-run homer in the ninth that brought the dugout to its feet.

"It's special," said Hicks, who went 5-for-10 this weekend. "It's a highlight of a career, and to have that [ball] that I can have forever is pretty cool."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, Jim Adduci, John Hicks