March 6th, 2008

Still a catcher

Apparently when Inge was talking about the difficulties of hitting while having to focus on catching, he was talking about difficulties he’ll have to overcome, not difficulties he wants to avoid.

This was Tigers assistant GM Al Avila on XM Radio earlier today:

"Brandon came in actually today and talked to Jim [Leyland]. He felt that he was misquoted in the newspaper, things were taken out of context and he actually came in today and said that he’s willing to catch. From his point of view today, he’s expressing that the way that things that were written weren’t exactly the way he expressed it, he was just frustrated that one game but if he’s going to be with the Tigers he’ll be happy. At this point you can count on Brandon Inge being a Detroit Tiger and he’ll catch when we need him."

Does that mean he’ll be the backup when Wilson opens the season on the DL? (When an injured player no-comments you twice about how things are going, things aren’t going well.) I doubt Inge would be the only backup; more likely Sardinha will also be on the roster. It could, however, give them some flexibility. It also helps Inge’s trade value if he’s willing to do things like that.

For those rolling their eyes about Sardinha — and yes, the offense is just bad — Dontrelle Willis went out of his way to praise Sardinha for the way he called his three innings today, bringing it up when no one asked him about it.

"He did a great job back there," Willis said. "For a guy you’re new to, he did a great job handling me back there. For someone to know what your ball is going to do and what you’re good at on some days, he’s very good about recognizing that. He did a great job of recognizing what we wanted to work on."

Is he trying to give him a confidence boost? I doubt it; that’s usually the manager’s job. But I would expect you’ll get a long look at Sardinha in the next couple weeks before the Tigers’ off day March 19. Pudge will catch tomorrow at Disney.

Dontrelle v. Glavine

A few interesting names in the Braves lineup today, including Lakeland’s own Matt Diaz at cleanup and Edgar Renteria’s successor, Yunel Escobar, at shortstop. Meanwhile, Ryan Raburn gets the start at second base, giving Polanco a day off.

Here’s the Tigers lineup:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Inge, 3B
  3. Sheffield, DH
  4. Thames, 1B
  5. Raburn, 2B
  6. Jones, LF
  7. Clevlen, RF
  8. Sardinha, C
  9. Santiago, SS

And the Braves lineup:

  1. Kelly Johnson, 2B
  2. Escobar, SS
  3. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  4. Diaz, DH
  5. Brian McCann, C
  6. Brent Lillibridge, 3B
  7. Scott Thorman, 1B
  8. Brandon Jones, LF
  9. Josh Anderson, CF

By the way, it’s also guest manager day, one of two they’ll have this spring (the other one being this Sunday). Steve Nagengest, a businessman from North Muskegon, won today’s honors in an auction at a charity dinner prior to TigerFest. We’ll see if he gets to put on any hit-and-runs or anything. He is a Marcus Thames, though, so Thames gets to bat cleanup with Magglio off. It’s also Marcus’ birthday today.