Tigers rookie infielder surprised by late-season call

DETROIT — On May 19, Brendon Davis drove in three runs with a double and triple for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees.

The next morning, he got a call from Salt Lake manager Lou Marson, which was unusual.

“I honestly thought I was going to the big leagues,” Davis recalled on Friday.

Instead, Marson reported that the Detroit Tigers had claimed him off waivers. This was doubly stunning to Davis.

“I didn’t know that I was on waivers,” Davis said. “When did this happen? When was I put on waivers?

Davis packed his bags and flew to Indianapolis to join his new team, the Toledo Mud Hens, where he’s been the last four-and-half months.

The Mud Hens’ season ended on Wednesday. By Thursday, Davis was back home in Arizona. And on Thursday night, he got another unexpected call, this time from Tigers vice president of player development Ryan Garko.

Willi Castro was injured and the Tigers needed a utility man for the final week of the season. Could he get to Detroit?

“It’s an opportunity I’ve been working for my whole life,” Davis said. “I feel like I’m ready and I’m going to try to make the most out of it.”

Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Davis would make his first Major League start on Saturday, playing third base against the Minnesota Twins.

In 430 plate appearances with Toledo, Davis is hitting .232 with a .751 OPS. He has 19 doubles and 14 home runs. In his final 25 games of the season, he posted a .940 OPS and walked 16 times in 108 plate appearances.

“He’s really performed well in September in Triple-A,” Hinch said. “He’s shown a ton of power in his career. We have a small opportunity here — it’s only a week — but as I told him in my office, any opportunity is a good opportunity.”

Although he just turned 25, it’s been a long journey to this point for Davis, who was originally drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015.

After spending the first two seasons of his pro career in the Dodgers system, he was sent to the Texas Rangers along with two others in the Yu Darvish trade.

He struggled with the Rangers and was claimed by the Angels a year later in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. The Angels added him to the 40-man roster last winter before placing him on waivers — unknownst to him — in May.

Now he’s making the big leagues with his fourth organization.

“As I get older and I’m around more teams and more organizations, I feel like it’s made it a lot easier for me,” he said. “As long as I have a job, a team that wants me, then I have an opportunity. I think that’s how I look at it.”

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