July 14th, 2009

Longoria injured, shuffle at 3B in AL

In case you missed it, AL All-Star starting third baseman Evan Longoria is out of tonight’s game with an infected right ring finger. Rangers third baseman Michael Young, who made the team ahead of Brandon Inge on the players ballot, will start at third in Longoria’s place.

Does this ensure Brandon Inge will play in the All-Star Game, giving him another All-Star memory after going homerless in the Derby? Not sure yet, but it certainly increases his chances. Another third baseman, Chone Figgins, was added to the roster in Longoria’s place and will be here tonight, but he also presumably has been on rest since Sunday. Not that one day of rest is a big deal of anything.

There was some buzz Monday about the American League had three catchers, even though they only have Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez, but I don’t think that means Inge is going to catch unless in a real emergency/injury situation. But that’s one example of where Inge’s utility could work against him, since he could be saved for late and used in any one of many positions.

Inge: "My number was actually 15"

Inge was the one Home Run Derby contestant who was shut out, but it was hard to tell by the way he reacted afterward. He promised ahead of the time that he would have a blast regardless of how he did, and as reporters gathered around his locker, he didn’t disappoint.

“My [target] number was actually 15, I was thinking,” he said. “And I almost got that.”

“It was fun,” he said. “It’s amazing. If you can just get one where you can figure out the trajectory of the ball, that would be the one. The very last ball, it was foul, but that’s the one where I finally felt it. Good thing it was the stinking 10th out. That’s the hard part is finding the first one, because the whole time is an adjustment.

“I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find the rhythm. I’m one where I need to find that one swing that feels good and then go with it.”

“Some guys I talked to about it said they couldn’t have fun because it was too stressful. I loved it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I really would. I’d ask them to do it again.”

After about the sixth out, Curtis Granderson said, Inge’s young son Tyler turned to him with a look of concern. He said, “Daddy’s not hitting any home runs.”

When someone asked him what he thought of the music playing on the sound system while he was at-bat, Inge laughed.

“To be honest with you,” he said, “I got back to the side and I was listening, and I’m like, ‘They’ve been playing music?’ I didn’t hear any music when I was hitting. Didn’t hear a word. All I heard was, ‘Two outs … three outs … four outs … five outs.”

Asked about the idea that it could affect his swing coming out of the break, Inge said, “How many base hits did I get out there tonight?”

After a while, All-Star teammate Josh Beckett got in on the fun.

“Tell them you don’t know how you didn’t get in the second round with those numbers,” Beckett joked from a few lockers down.

“Hey,” Inge cracked back, “I told them I’m saving them for you.”