"I had a big old smile on my face right when I walked in," Fields said Tuesday. "I remember coming here when my dad was coaching, walking in to the same doors when I was about 12 years old. It brings back a lot of great memories, walking in now and now I'm a player.
"This is what I dreamed about coming to the field with my dad every day when I was 12. That's when I realized baseball is what I wanted to do. I thought, 'There's other teams out there, but being able to play for the Tigers, that would be very special.' Now that dream's come true. Especially coming from Detroit, playing in the city, that means a lot."
As Bruce Fields was organizing plans for family and friends to come to Comerica Park on Tuesday morning, the same thought was fresh in his mind.
"All the hard work paid off," the elder Fields said.
When Fields makes his debut, he'll be the first Detroit-born player to take the field for the Tigers since Dave Borkowski in 2001. He's just the second Major Leaguer from University of Detroit Jesuit High School, joining Vern Spencer, who played for the New York Giants in 1920 . He's also a second-generation Tiger, as Bruce Fields played for the Tigers in 1986.
With Rajai Davis on paternity leave to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, Fields got the call. He'll likely stick around for the three-game series against the A's before Davis rejoins the club Friday in Chicago, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated.
On the flip side was the 34-year-old Wilson, a journeyman infielder signed to a Minor League deal in the offseason. The Tigers are his 13th organization, and the ninth to give him a shot in the big leagues in the last 11 years.
It would seem humdrum by now, but for someone who wasn't sure he'd ever get back, it's not. While Fields talked nonstop with family and friends on the drive, Wilson said he talked with his agent.
"He asked me what I felt, and is it any different," Wilson said. "I said it's definitely different. Life feels better than ever before. I don't know if I was quite as excited as the first time, but it's more special the longer you go and keep going back and forth. To keep fighting your way back is pretty awesome. I'm pretty happy, ready to contribute, ready to help any way I can."
Wilson takes the role of Hernan Perez, who was claimed off waivers by the Brewers on Tuesday. While Perez struggled mightily to keep his bat fresh in a utility-infielder role, going just 2-for-33 with a walk and 11 strikeouts this year, the Tigers believe Wilson's veteran bat is better suited.
"His whole Major League career has basically been that role," manager Brad Ausmus said.
That said, the Tigers were hoping they wouldn't lose Perez, that his struggles would allow them to sneak him through waivers and outright him to Triple-A Toledo. He was out of Minor League options, and he drew what Dombrowski called "minimal" trade interest.
"He was really stuck in a role that didn't fit him at this point," Dombrowski said.
The Tigers also optioned right-hander Buck Farmer to Toledo to make room for Alfredo Simon's return from the bereavement list. Farmer gave up seven runs on nine hits over five innings in a spot start for Kyle Lobstein last Thursday. His move means left-hander Kyle Ryan will start Friday against the White Sox.