The moves come after the Twins optioned relievers Luis Perdomo and Jeff Manship on Wednesday, following a 5-1 loss to the Tigers. Minnesota announced reliever Anthony Swarzak would also be activated from the 15-day disabled list, but the club waited until Friday to bring up Carson, who started in right field and batted seventh against Seattle.
Carson, 31, hit .277/.339/.447 in 110 games with the Red Wings. He hit 14 homers and 23 doubles while leading the team with 49 RBIs. He also saw time in all three outfield spots.
"Talking to our people, he's probably been their most consistent guy from day one, offensively and defensively," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He deserved this call-up."
Carson last played in the Majors in 2010 with the A's, when he hit .177 with four homers and four stolen bases in 36 games. He's career .200/.210/.370 hitter in 46 games in the big leagues from 2009-10 with Oakland.
"Any time you've been in the big leagues you want to stay there," Carson said. "So spending a couple of years in the Minor Leagues, you question if it's ever going to happen again. So this late in the season to get the call was a treat and I'm excited to help the team out."
Carson, who is expected to add outfield depth, was signed by the Twins as a Minor League free agent before the season.