Tigers nearly signed Alex Presley in offseason

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Alex Presley

Detroit – The seeds of Alex Presley playing for the Tigers were sown last offseason.

Presley, 31, was granted free agency after playing parts of two seasons with the Astros, and the Tigers, who weren’t going to re-sign Rajai Davis and at the time had an opening in left field, were among the teams that contacted him.

Presley ultimately signed with the Brewers and the Tigers signed Mike Aviles and later Justin Upton. Things didn’t go well for Presley in Milwaukee (he hit .198 in 47 games) and on July 1, the Brewers released him.

The Tigers re-entered the picture and signed him to a minor-league contract.

“I felt the opportunity would be there (in Detroit),” said Presley, whose contract was purchased from Toledo Thursday morning. “I got good feelings from Detroit, talking to them. We were so close in the offseason, so there was already a relationship, a mutual interest at that point.

“So, everything looked like, if I performed and everything shook out, I would have a shot.”

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That’s how it worked out. Aviles was traded to Atlanta on Tuesday for Erick Aybar, and when Tyler Collins was hit on the knee with a 99 mph fastball from Yordano Ventura Wednesday night, Presley was pulled out of the game in Toledo and starting making arrangements to get to Detroit.

“To be able to walk onto a team that’s in contention for a stretch run is definitely exciting,” he said. “I’m just looking to help out and do some positive things out there.”

Presley, who was hitting .293 with a .777 OPS in 34 games at Toledo, started in left field Thursday and batted ninth.

“I’ve been pretty steady,” Presley said. “Been swinging pretty good. I am just looking to carry it over and contribute.”

The Tigers are his fifth team in eight seasons. He can play all three outfield positions and is a career .253 hitter with a .383 slugging percentage and .679 OPS.

“This means a bunch,” he said when asked about getting another big-league opportunity. “It can be taken from you very quickly, as I’ve found out. Any time you are in a big-league clubhouse, it’s a privilege and you have to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Collins was not put on the disabled list, but he could miss a couple of days. Manager Brad Ausmus thought he might be able to pinch-hit.

Outfielder Steven Moya was sent back to Toledo Wednesday. To make room for Presley on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Bobby Parnell was designated for assignment.

Twitter @cmccosky