CLEVELAND -- James McCann is back behind the plate for the Tigers. Bobby Wilson, the man called up when McCann went on the 15-day disabled list last month, is back with his old club.
The Tigers activated McCann from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and traded Wilson to the Rangers for left-handed pitcher Chad Bell.
The move restores the Tigers' catching ranks to their Opening Day status, before McCann went on the DL on April 11 with a sprained right ankle. After more than three weeks away, though, McCann feels like the season's just starting for him.
"It's almost like a second Opening Day for me," McCann said Tuesday. "It almost feels like I'm just now starting my season individually."
McCann played in four games during Opening Week before spraining his right ankle trying to avoid a collision at first base. He missed a little more than three weeks, during which Jarrod Saltalamacchia experienced a career rejuvenation in his place.
McCann immediately returned to the starting lineup in Tuesday's night's 7-3 loss to the Indians, batting seventh and catching Justin Verlander in the series opener at Progressive Field. McCann went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, while Verlander allowed seven runs over five innings.
"He's full-go," manager Brad Ausmus said of McCann before Tuesday's game.
The expectation is that McCann will get the bulk of the starts for the foreseeable future, with Saltalamacchia getting the call against tough right-handed pitchers and serving as a pinch-hitting power bat off the bench.
Like Bryan Holaday in Spring Training, Wilson is out of Minor League options. Not only would he have had to clear waivers for the Tigers to try outrighting him to Triple-A Toledo, he would've still had the right to decline the move and become a free agent. That set up the Tigers' second catching trade with the Rangers in five weeks.
Wilson, acquired from Texas at the end of Spring Training for Holaday, will now team up with Holaday as the Rangers' catching duo. The 33-year-old veteran backup made four starts and played in one other game with Detroit, batting 2-for-13.
The Tigers anticipated losing Wilson in some fashion when McCann returned, which is why Detroit signed Humberto Quintero to serve as a veteran insurance catcher in Toledo on April 19.
Bell, the Rangers' 14th-round Draft pick in 2009, was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in five games (two starts) at Triple-A Round Rock. The 27-year-old is 32-28 with a 3.66 ERA in 149 Minor League games (86 starts). He'll report to Toledo, with former Tigers reliever Jose Valdez heading to Double-A Erie to make room.