The prodigal son has returned.
Triple-A Toledo's all-time home run and RBI king, Mike Hessman, has returned to the Tigers organization after four years in different clubhouses. If he rejoins the Mud Hens, he should have a real shot at the International League's longball record.
The California native's 244 homers in the International League leave him just 14 shy of Ollie Carnegie's 68-year-old record. Carnegie was a member of the Buffalo Bisons from 1931-41 and again as a 46-year-old in 1945.
Hessman was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1996. He worked his way through the system and played three seasons for former Triple-A Richmond before signing as a free agent with Detroit. The first baseman spent the next five seasons with the Mud Hens, racking up 140 homers and 373 RBIs while earning the 2007 International League MVP.
The power hitter joined the Bisons -- at the time, a Mets affiliate -- for a season, along with stints with the Triple-A RedHawks (Astros) and the Triple-A Bats (Reds).
The 35-year-old has played in 109 Major League games over a span of five years, most recently 32 games with the Mets in 2010. In the bigs, Hessman has 14 home runs and 33 RBIs.
Hessman's 389 Minor League homers also leave him 11 short of becoming the eighth player to join the 400 home run club led by Mexican League great Hector Espino (484).
The Tigers also signed pitchers Eduardo Sanchez and Patrik McCoy to Minor League contracts Monday.