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Clete Thomas Returns; Don Kelly Demoted

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He has returned to us. The Cult of Clete can once again rejoice.

After last night's game, the Detroit Tigers announced that outfielder Clete Thomas has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo. Don Kelly was designated for assignment to make room for Thomas on Detroit's roster. (The move was first announced by Jason Beck on Twitter, and if you're on Twitter, you saw how fast that news passed around. Viral!)

Thomas was sent down to Triple-A approximately a month ago, told that he needed to work on shortening his swing. Apparently, Clete took that advice seriously, because he started mashing the ball as soon as he got to Toledo. In his last 86 at-bats, Thomas hit .349/.434/.465 with 12 walks and 25 strikeouts. (Hat tip to Billfer) I'm sure the Tigers would prefer Clete strike out less, but he's hitting the ball, which is something the team needs right now.

Kelly was designated for assignment, as he was out of minor league options. My guess would be that he'd report to Toledo, and maybe the Tigers would bring him back if they needed the help in the outfield. His average had fallen to .250/.308/.354, but he was hitting the ball pretty regularly and showing a nice opposite field stroke when first called up, highlighted by a 3-for-4 day against Milwaukee. (But he should never, ever bat clean-up in a major league lineup, as he did last Sunday.)

When he initially joined the Tigers before a long stretch of interleague play, I figured the team would take advantage of the versatility he showed in Toledo and use him at several different positions. But he played almost exclusively in left field, filling in a little bit at third base when Brandon Inge's knees were bothering him.

I expect that Thomas will be in the starting lineup tonight against Zack Greinke, though he's just 1-for-7 against him with two strikeouts.