Tigers call up infield prospect Candelario

Acquired from Cubs in Wilson/Avila deal, he gets locker next to Miggy

Tigers call up infield prospect Candelario

PITTSBURGH -- A week after Jeimer Candelario joined the Tigers' organization from the Cubs, he was sitting in the visitors' clubhouse at PNC Park when his longtime friend, Mariners star second baseman Robinson Cano, sent him a text message.

"His dad and my dad grew up together in the same town, and we kind of grew up together, like brothers," Candelario said. "When he was in Triple-A, I started practicing with him all the time. But I was young, like 9 years old, 10 years old, so I learned a lot about his swing and hitting lefty."

Both dreamed of getting to the big leagues. One was obviously closer. So when Candelario was called up Sunday night from Triple-A Toledo, he figured he'd be hearing from his big brother.

"He just texted me a couple minutes ago," Candelario said. "I told him, 'Hey, I'm here with Detroit. I'm right next to Miggy.'"

Candelario's first career homer

Indeed, his locker was next to Miguel Cabrera, who welcomed and congratulated him. In many cities, star players get an empty locker on either side to give them room. Cabrera, however, was happy to welcome the young talent, however long he's up.

Candelario will be with the Tigers for at least three games while shortstop Jose Iglesias is on the bereavement list. But as a corner infielder, he'll likely be used off the bench as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement.

"Whatever they're going to do with me is good for me and good for the team," Candelario said. "Whatever is good for the team is good for us. It's going to be all right."

Candelario becomes the first of the five infield prospects acquired by Detroit in trades last month to make the big club. It is not the first big league stint for him, having played in 16 games for the Cubs over the past two seasons.

Candelario will wear No. 46, and he will most likely serve as an extra player for the next few days until Iglesias returns, backing up Nicholas Castellanos at third base and Cabrera at first. He was one of two potential callups on the 40-man roster, the other being center fielder JaCoby Jones.

Candelario was the top prospect in the Cubs' organization in MLBPipeline.com's midseason rankings when he came over to Detroit in the Justin Wilson and Alex Avila trade, and he's ranked third in the Tigers' farm system. He went 5-for-26 with two doubles and a solo home run in six games for the Mud Hens. Combine that with his work at Iowa, and the 23-year-old is batting .260 (81-for-312) with 29 doubles, 13 homers, 53 RBIs and an .847 OPS in the Minors.

MLBPipeline.com ranked Candelario sixth among the top prospects traded in non-waiver Trade Deadline deals. Three of the five infielders the Tigers acquired were ranked in the top 20 on that list.

The Iowa Cubs were in Albuquerque when the trade happened. Candelario has been traveling east ever since -- to Toledo, then Columbus, then Pittsburgh.

"It's all about getting there," Candelario said. "I had to go Iowa to pick up my stuff, then go to Toledo and then drive here. I'll take it. This is good. This is The Show."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.