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Tigers will give Brandon Inge a chance to play second base

Feb 16, 2012, 5:07 PM EDT

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Miguel Cabrera‘s planned shift across the diamond means Brandon Inge is no longer the Tigers’ starting third baseman, but manager Jim Leyland said today that the team will give him an opportunity to compete for the job at second base.

Inge is 34 years old and has played 1,800 professional games without logging even one inning at second base. On the other hand, in theory at least an excellent defensive third baseman could be reasonably decent at second base and … well, when a team is already committed to using Cabrera every day at third base what’s another infielder playing out of position?

Inge’s primary competition at second base is Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn, so it might not take much to snag the gig. Of course, Inge hit .197 last year to earn a midseason demotion to Triple-A and hasn’t had an OPS above .725 since 2006. He’s under contract for $5.5 million.

  1. philliesblow - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Smart move by the Tigers. Rayburn never hits until late July and they don’t believe Santiago can be an everyday player. This will give Inge a chance to play and keep him from being a malcontent. He was a SS in college, many moons ago, but he does have some middle IF experience to draw on.

  2. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Any word on whether Scherzer can play short?

  3. andyreidisfat - Feb 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I think the tigers may have one of the best offenses ever ! I also believe they will never win a world series with this team.

    Put a third basemen at second ? A guy who has never turned even one double play with a guy bearing down on him. Good luck with that. Not to mention they are going to start a guy at 3rd who even when he was in great shape was below average. Dude has added 30 lbs since he last played 3rd ( that’s not in anyway a roid comment, I just think he trained different once he didn’t need to move around as much )

  4. djhtruth - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    We are bending over backwards to try to make Inge happy once again. santiago is quite capable, every time he plays he contributes something positive, let the man play!!” Raburn vs lefties, Inge–bench or triple AAA or home!!!!!

  5. lostsok - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Jim Leyland: “Hmmmm…I wonder if there’s some way…ANY way…we can make our infield defense even WORSE. Hey…here’s a thought….”

  6. detroitcityryda - Feb 16, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Inge is garbage why are we giving him chances every year? he should have been gone last year dude can’t hit a watermelon of it was thrown at him

    • Detroit Michael - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:15 AM

      This misunderstands the situation. Inge could have retired last year when the Tigers designated him for assignment, taking paychecks for nothing. Instead he went to the minors voluntarily and returned to the major league team later in the year. Anything contribution the Tigers get from Inge is a complete gift.

      So if a guy is still playing for your team because he felt it was the right thing to do, not because of any contractual obligation, doesn’t the team want to reward him just a bit by saying “sure, Brandon, we’ll let you compete for playing time whereever you might find it?”

  7. jlhc5530 - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Honest question: have Inge/the Tigers ruled out using him as a back-up at C at this point? I’d like to think his middling offense only reinforces that his best fate is as a utility bench player. Regardless of offense, it’d be pretty high value if he could competently back up 3b, 2b, and C.

    • mattintoledo - Feb 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      The Tigers’ company line is that Inge can no longer catch after the work he’s had done on his knees. It’s difficult to know whether that’s true – certainly seems plausible – or if it’s just a deflection that doesn’t involve having to point out that Inge absolutely hates catching.

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