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Hens' Hessman signs minor league deal with Mets

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Hens' Hessman signs minor league deal with Mets

BLADE STAFF

The Mud Hens' all-time leader in home runs will not return to the team next year.

Mike Hessman signed a minor-league contract with the New York Mets yesterday, ending a five-year run in Toledo during which he set a franchise record with 140 career home runs while finishing second all-time with 373 RBIs.

Last season Hessman hit just .217 but finished fourth in the International League with 23 home runs and tied for fifth with 77 RBIs. Both of those totals led the Hens.

Hessman's best season in Toledo came in 2007, when he was voted the IL's most valuable player after leading the league with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs. He also was voted to the IL's post-season all-star team the following year, when he slugged 34 homers and had 72 RBIs.

Assuming that Hessman is a member of the Mets' Triple-A team in Buffalo, he will return to Toledo when the Bisons visit Fifth Third Field July 23-26.

•On Monday the Tigers signed LHP Brad Thomas to a major-league contract. Thomas spent the past two seasons with Hanwha in the Korean Baseball Organization, where he went 5-11 with a 2.86 ERA and 44 saves in 104 appearances.

He pitched the previous two seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan's Pacific League, posting a 5-6 record and 4.21 ERA.

The Australian native originally signed with the Dodgers and pitched for the Twins in 2001, 2003, and '04. In 11 major-league games Thomas was 0-3 with a 9.89 ERA.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Tigers outrighted the contract of RHP Zach Simons to Toledo. Simons split time between Double-A Erie and the Mud Hens last year; for the Hens he went 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 appearances.

The Tigers also signed C Robinzon Diaz to a minor-league contract. Last season Diaz split time between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis; in 41 games with the Pirates he batted .279 with a home run and 19 RBIs.

Earlier this off season Detroit resigned C Max St-Pierre to a minor-league contract. St-Pierre has spent all but one of the last 13 years in the Tigers organization, including three different seasons with the Mud Hens.

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