Inge ahead of schedule (surprise)

Nobody can really be surprised that Brandon Inge is trying to beat the timetable that would have him and his surgically repaired knees playing in Spring Training games by mid-March. He’s just that kind of athlete, and he gets that bored sitting around.

What might be surprising, though, are the reports that he’s hitting well. The bad habits he developed at the plate down the stretch last year to compensate for his knees were relatively easy to shake, Inge said, because they all involved his lower body rather than his hands.

He might get a chance to practice that hitting sooner than his fielding. Manager Jim Leyland said there’s a chance Inge could get some games at DH before he plays at third base.

“He has that foundation and everything. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue,” Leyland said of any bad habits in Inge’s hitting mechanics.

Inge agreed. He said he fought off an inside pitch that would’ve troubled him late last year, and he knew then that his lower body strength was back.

Leyland is already dreading the question over how many games Inge will play once the regular season arrives. His knees beg the debate over how often to rest him, but as Leyland readily points out, Inge wants to play every game.

“I can tell you he’s not going to play every game,” Leyland said, “but he goes bananas when he doesn’t play.”

More from today:

  • Interesting that Leyland says they have three starters set, rather than four, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the fourth spot is up for grabs. If Jeremy Bonderman remains healthy and has even a decent spring, that slot is his. Of all the high-contract, low-production starters, he’s in a little different position than Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis.
  • Rain forced the Tigers to work out indoors Saturday morning. That meant no live BP, with hitters swinging in the cages instead. Pitchers still got in their scheduled throwing work.
  • Leyland said he’s still debating what kind of lineup to trot out against Florida Southern in their annual exhibition next Tuesday. He usually has started his regulars and gotten them an at-bat before taking them out. But don’t expect Leyland to hold out Scott Sizemore for injury reasons. If he can’t play against Florida Southern, Leyland said, then he can’t play against Toronto the next day.
  • Jose Valverde will out of camp for a few days due to a death in his family.
  • Leyland said Justin Verlander has not paid up from their friendly PFP competition. “Nah, I’ll let him off the hook,” Leyland said. “He’s hurting a little bit for money now.”

14 Comments

Yeah Matt (I’ll comment here rather than the last thread), Jimmy does get a little thick with his platitudes in spring. I remember last year and his raving about Dontrelle looing “phenomenal”. For a guy who likes to “tell the truth” or “be honest with you”, he does tend to stretch his credibility in his spring assessments.
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There are a lot of “Ifs” this year but IF they mostly happen this could be a really good team.

The Cards signed Felipe Lopez to a ONE year contract for ONE MILLION!!.
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The Tigers missed the boat on this guy who hits over .300 and is a good @B and 3B guy with the ability to play short as well.
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Seems to me we have concerns at all those above positions with 2 of the guys coming off serious injury and one of them never haveing swung a bit in the Majors.
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That was a very nice acquisition for the Cards.

The Cards signed Felipe Lopez to a ONE year contract for ONE MILLION!!.
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The Tigers missed the boat on this guy who hits over .300 and is a good 2B and 3B guy with the ability to play short as well.
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Seems to me we have concerns at all those above positions with two of the guys coming off serious injury and one of them never having swung a bit in the Majors.
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That was a very nice acquisition for the Cards.

If managers were rated on their ability to throw a good quip into an interview, Leyland would be a Hall of Famer. Unfortunately…………………..
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I wish we could get a camera on Inge during a game he’s sitting out. I’d love to see him “go bananas.”
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Matt, now you have me wondering if I fall into the top or lower 50% of cynical fans. :-)
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Jason and team, if you guys can wait a week, I’m bringing good weather down to Florida with me. Guaranteed.
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–Rich

Rich, I sure hope you bring good weather, I’m getting real tired of having to have the heat on every night down here.

dan_byrne: I agree with you that the Cards made a great move, though I don’t agree that Lopez can play short. He is OK there at best and we have Santiago who is much better on D(though not offensively). I think the Tigers would have liked to sign him for that price but that he would have signed with the Cards anyways. He will get to play more with them(unless Sizemore can’t play for some reason), and he turned his career around there in 08. I think he will have a great year but we might as well play Raburn and Kelly(hope he can hit close to what he did last year) as super subs.

The year of the Tiger begins Tuesday. Rich, soon will be trekking to Florida with promised good weather. Word is that he is starting a new chapter of the Jim Leyland Fan Club. Dan is already in high gear with The Power of Positive Thinking, and I’m getting excited about our new old third baseman, B Inge. To be honest with all of you, I always predict the best, but I just have a sneaky feeling that this team will surprise. Rich, are you going to be in DC for the three game set in June.
Verlander vs. Strasburg; now wouldn’t that be interesting. Looking forward to 2010 with all the TigaBloggers.

Greg

Greg, too bad for us Tiger fans in the DC area we will have to go to Detroit to see Verlander pitch against the Nationals. Spring is always a time to think positive and I an looking forward to sitting in the stands in Lakeland in two weeks. DC Tiger fans will have to travel this year or wait until the final series of the year in Baltimore.
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Mark

That’s correct, Greg, Tigers-Nationals is in Detroit this year. With the Baltimore visit not until the final weekend of the year, it won’t be much of a traveling season for me, although I’ll probably be in Michigan at some point this summer and will catch a game at Comerica.
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Mark, if you want to swap ST schedules, maybe we could hook up in FLA.
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With one BIG hockey game left, I’m about Olympic’ed out. I like every event but the sledding ones so I’ve been kept busy the past two weeks.
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I saw Felipe Lopez play for the Nats when he wasn’t very good, so I guess I never got involved in that one. Sounds like a good deal for St. Louis, though.
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–Rich

Rich, I will be at the games from the 13th to the 17th. On the 13th I will be in section 205, A5 and the 14th in A7 of the same section.
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Mark

I read on the Laird post that his BA has over the past 7 seasons been peaks & valleys with highs of .273 to .295 and lows of .225 like last season. Let’s hope the pattern continues and Laird delivers the .295 BA this year along with the solid defense and game management.

I’m 9 days away from FLA and planning on catching the Phils on 3/12 or the Yanks on 3/13 depending on availability.

Jim

Mark, sounds like you got good seats for the Yankees game on the 13th. I got stuck with gen adm for that one. So if I’m not mistaken, you’re in the front row of 205 which is just above the concourse. I can easily walk over and look you up. My other games in Lakeland are the 8th, 10th, 12th, and 18th. I’m heading to the west coast after the game on the 13th and will see the Tigers in Clearwater and Bradenton.
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Jim, I can be found on the 12th in section 210 H3 and, of course, somewhere in the 3B line GA bleachers on the 13th.
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–Rich

Rich, I most likely will be in GA on 3/13 for the Yanks (ss) game so as we get closer I’ll blog to see what t-shirt, ballcap you’re wearing. We’re staying at the beach this year so I’m going to catch more road games than Tigertown games. Phils, Pirates and Yanks in Tampa are ones on the radar.

It appears Mark scored some great seats for his games. Hey anything warmer than 55 is going to seem balmy.

Jim

I also plan to go to Clearwater and Bradenton. Five games in five days, no better way to spend a vacation.
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Mark

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