The Tigers acquired 27-year-old outfielder Mikie Mahtook from the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, in exchange for cash and a player to be named later.
To create room for Mahtook on the 40-man roster, center fielder Anthony Gose was designated for assignment.
Mahtook, a right-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions but seems most comfortable in center, played parts of the last two seasons with the Rays, hitting .231 with 12 home runs and 30 RBIs in 106 games.
He put himself on the Tigers’ radar late in the 2015 season when, at Comerica Park, he went 4 for 10 with a double, triple and home run in a three-game series. He will be in the hunt to win the starting center-field spot with JaCoby Jones and Tyler Collins.
Jones and Mahtook, both Louisiana-born, are products of the LSU baseball program. Jones became the LSU starting center fielder after Mahtook was drafted in the first round by the Rays in 2011.
It remains to be seen if this is the end of the line for Gose, who was the Tigers’ starting center fielder on Opening Day last year. If he clears waivers, he could be re-signed to a minor-league contract.
Most likely, he will seek a new start in a different organization.