Bobby Parnell, Casey McGehee to stay in Tigers organization

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Reliever Bobby Parnell and infielder Casey McGehee will be remaining with the Detroit Tigers organization after all.

After both were released Monday, Parnell signed a minor league contract with the team on Wednesday, and a source told ESPN.com that McGehee is expected to do the same. They are expected to begin the season in Triple-A Toledo.

Parnell, 31, said he wished to stay with the organization and feels he has a legitimate shot at helping the bullpen once he continues to rack up innings in the minors.

"I feel like when I'm pitching like I'm capable of pitching, I can help any bullpen, so it didn't really matter where I was, as far as that situation," Parnell said after the Tigers' 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. "But I knew I wanted to help Detroit win, and this is what I need to do to do that."

Parnell and McGehee were let go from camp on Monday afternoon after being granted their unconditional release. By cutting both players before Tuesday, the Tigers managed to avoid paying the respective $100,000 retention bonus that each were due, per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Parnell's dismissal was initially surprising. A former closer for the Mets, he was coming off his strongest outing to date on Sunday, and he seemed to be a good fit for the Tigers bullpen, especially considering the way his velocity had steadily improved since the start of training camp.

Now, with Parnell remaining in the organization, the Tigers can benefit from his experience if need be.

"He's pitched and closed at the major league level, and that experience can be invaluable should he find his way in Detroit again, which could happen," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I just think that for him, it's best for him to go down to the minor leagues, continue to throw, get his arm strength all the way back -- because it was creeping up quickly -- and then concentrate on throwing strikes."

The Tigers are currently dealing with two injuries in the bullpen, with Alex Wilson already ruled out for Opening Day because of a lat strain and Blaine Hardy on the mend with a shoulder impingement.