Minors HR king Hessman could get call

Ausmus expects Tigers to discuss adding veteran slugger

Minors HR king Hessman could get call

HOUSTON -- Mike Hessman owns the Minor League record with 433 career home runs, a total he could continue to bump over the next few weeks at Triple-A Toledo. Whether he'll get a chance to bolster his Major League total of 14 homers is another matter, but don't rule out it yet.

The Tigers haven't yet discussed September callups, manager Brad Ausmus said, but he anticipates Hessman's name will be raised as an option.

"I'm sure he will be a name that is discussed," Ausmus said Sunday morning.

MLB Central: Mike Hessman

If Hessman, 37, decides to retire at season's end -- it has been widely speculated he will have a career in coaching in the Tigers' system whenever his playing days are done -- one last big league call would be a nice cap to a 19-year professional career. The logistics, however, could be complicated.

Hessman is not on the 40-man roster; he'd have to be added to be eligible to join the team. The Tigers have an open spot on their 40-man roster, but left-hander Kyle Lobstein is expected to fill that whenever he comes off the 60-day disabled list. Barring any August trades or releases, the Tigers would have to designate somebody to open a spot, which probably wouldn't happen.

The other factor that could come into play is the Tigers' standing in the American League Wild Card race, whether they're close enough in September to be realistically playing for a spot. One rule of thumb once used to define playoff contention was being within five games at the start of September; the Tigers entered play Sunday within four games of a Wild Card spot, though with four other teams ahead of them.

"The closer you are to a playoff spot, the more strategic it becomes," Ausmus said of September callups.

Whatever happens, Ausmus said he appreciates what Hessman has accomplished.

"It's nice to see him do well," Ausmus said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.