LAKELAND, Fla. -- Two days after the Tigers released Bobby Parnell, the right-handed reliever was back in the clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium. The team announced Wednesday it has re-signed the former Mets closer to a Minor League contract.Infielder Casey McGehee, also released on Monday, wasn't far behind. He agreed
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Two days after the Tigers released Bobby Parnell, the right-handed reliever was back in the clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium. The team announced Wednesday it has re-signed the former Mets closer to a Minor League contract.
Infielder Casey McGehee, also released on Monday, wasn't far behind. He agreed to a Minor League deal Wednesday evening, sources told MLB.com.
The club has not confirmed McGehee's deal.
Parnell joined the Tigers in Sarasota for Wednesday night's 2-1 win over the Orioles. Though he's expected to open the season at Triple-A Toledo, his return gives the Tigers a potentially critical addition as the season goes on.
"I feel like that when I pitch the way I'm capable of pitching, then I can help any bullpen," Parnell said. "I want to help the Tigers win."
The Tigers signed Parnell to a Minor League deal with a non-roster invite as camp began last month, hoping to see a pickup in arm strength in his second season back from Tommy John surgery. Parnell gave up nine runs on 15 hits over 9 1/3 innings with eight walks and eight strikeouts, but five of those runs and five hits came in one-third of an inning against the Blue Jays last Tuesday. His stuff improved as camp went along, including a fastball that registered at 96 mph during a scoreless inning with two strikeouts on Sunday against the Astros.
"I felt I had an opportunity to make the club and be an impact in the bullpen," Parnell said. "I came in and tried to do too much, walked too many guys. I feel like just [getting] innings is going to turn that around. I didn't want to go meet new faces and do the whole rigmarole again. I feel comfortable here, I like the guys and I like the direction the team's going."
Parnell had enough Major League service time to qualify for an opt-out and a retention bonus, forcing the Tigers to either add him to the Major League roster by Tuesday or offer him $100,000 to stick around. Detroit released him ahead of the deadline Monday afternoon, but hoped all along to bring him back if no big league opportunities were available for him elsewhere.
The Tigers were hoping to keep McGehee at Toledo as insurance in case of injury to corner infielders Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez or Nick Castellanos. The former National League Comeback Player of the Year took advantage of ample playing time this spring, batting .316 (12-for-38) with a home run, six RBIs, seven walks and four strikeouts. That provided a showcase for other clubs, but after weighing his options, he chose to return.
Both deals are expected to include an opt-out clause that will allow the player to request their release if they're not on the Major League roster by a certain point during the season. The standard clause for free agents who receive a retention bonus is June 1, but that no longer applies when players sign a new deal.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.