Prince Fielder returned home Thursday, awash in memories of growing up as a pre-teen in Detroit ... like being dumped in a garbage can at Tiger Stadium by his father's teammates.
Fielder is a Tiger himself now, officially introduced Thursday at Comerica Park, having signed a nine-year, $214-million contract as a free agent.
From 1990 to '96, while his dad, Cecil, was a slugging first baseman for the Tigers, young Prince was playing Little League and establishing himself as a baseball phenom.
Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, the driving force behind signing Prince Fielder, now 27, recalled how Cecil would go on and on about his kid's talent.
"At the old ball park, Cecil, after Tiger games, would come up to the box and he'd bring me food," Ilitch said. "We'd sit down and all we'd do is talk about Prince. 'Prince is going to do this, and Prince is going to do that.' And I'd say, 'Typical father, bragging about one of his kids.'
"After he started putting (home runs) in the upper deck (as a 12-year-old), I said, 'You don't have to come upstairs anymore. You don't have to tell me any more about him.' He was marked to be a baseball player."
Asked about his fondest memories of hanging around Tiger Stadium, Prince Fielder told the Detroit Free Press: "Getting thrown in trash cans by (former Tigers) Tony Phillips and Pete Incaviglia."
He said returning to Detroit "is an awesome moment. I never thought it could happen. It's very special.
"I'm happy to be here. I can't wait to get it going."
Fielder hit .299 last season as a first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers with 38 homers and 120 RBI.
"As for the contract, as far as living up to it, I'm just going to go out there and play hard," Fielder said.
DODGERS BID FOR PRINCE
The Los Angeles Dodgers made a run at signing slugger Prince Fielder and thought they had a good chance of landing the free agent, CBSSports.com reported.
The Dodgers, who are in the process of being sold, offered a seven-year deal at about $160 million that would've allowed Fielder to opt out after four seasons. Fielder would've earned about $26 million for the first four years -- slightly more than the Tigers offered.
NATS GO OUT ON A LIDGE
Free-agent closer Brad Lidge signed a one-year, $1-million deal Thursday with the Washington Nationals.
Lidge, 35, appeared in only 25 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011 because of a right rotator cuff injury, but he posted a 1.40 earned-run average. The Phillies didn't offer him arbitration.
Philadelphia's former closer, who went 48-for-48 during the team's 2008 World Series season, will join Tyler Clippard to help set up for closer Drew Storen.
In four seasons with Philadelphia, Lidge went 3-11 with 100 saves and a 3.73 ERA.
CARMONA ON RESTRICTED LIST
The Indians have placed Roberto Hernandez Heredia, also known as Fausto Carmona, on the restricted list, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
The move clears a space on the team's 40-man roster, and Heredia won't gain service time or a salary until he rejoins the team.
Heredia was arrested last week in the Dominican Republic on charges he falsified his name and age. He is said to be 31, not 28 as the Indians believed.
It is uncertain whether he will get a visa in time for spring training or the 2012 season.
RED SOX CLOSE THE DEAL
Closer Andrew Bailey and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.9-million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing.
Bailey asked for $4.7 million, while the team offered $3.35 million. The Red Sox acquired Bailey from the Oakland Athletics this winter with outfielder Ryan Sweeney for Josh Reddick and two minor-leaguers.
Bailey converted 24 of 26 save chances and posted a 3.24 ERA in 2011.
METS CUT COSTS
The New York Mets are poised to slash their payroll to below $91 million for 2012, a cut of about $52 million, ESPNNewYork.com reported Thursday.
The Mets payroll was roughly $143 million in 2011 and the team lost $70 million, according to general manager Sandy Alderson.
In dollar terms, it is the biggest payroll drop in history, although on a percentage basis it doesn't match the Florida Marlins salary dump in 2006, when their payroll fell to $15 million from $60.4 million the previous season.
The Mets are cutting ticket prices by 5-30%.
The New York Yankees officially signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year contract Thursday. Kuroda went 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA over 32 starts last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers ... The Oakland Athletics have agreed on a one-year contract with outfielder Jonny Gomes. Gomes, 31, played last season for Cincinnati and Washington, hitting .209 with 14 homers and 43 RBI in 120 games. The Reds traded him to the Nationals in late July.