Inge to DL, Fien recalled

The Tigers need an extra arm in the bullpen at the moment more than they need a third baseman to replace injured Brandon Inge. So Detroit placed Inge on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Casey Fien from Triple-A Toledo Tuesday afternoon to provide an extra arm while it ponders what to do at third base.
Inge is expected to be out 4-6 weeks after fracturing a bone in his left hand Monday night against the Rangers.
After Monday’s 14-inning loss to Texas, a fourth-inning exit from Andy Oliver Sunday afternoon and a day-night doubleheader that included another extra-inning game Saturday, Detroit’s bullpen has pitched 20.2 innings over five games in four days since the All-Star break. Five relievers pitched Monday night, including closer Jose Valverde for the second consecutive day.
That left the Tigers looking for an extra arm to handle work Tuesday night if Armando Galarraga can’t work deep into the game. Enter Fien, who was up with the Tigers for two days a few weeks ago before Ryan Perry returned. Fien pitched two scoreless innings June 30 at Minnesota.
Fien’s arrival means third base will fall to the Detroit’s utilitymen for at least Tuesday. With the Rangers starting right-hander Tommy Hunter Tuesday night, Don Kelly appears likely to get the start at third base for the second time in three days. Kelly gave Inge a day off Sunday at Cleveland and replaced him at third base in the fifth inning Monday. 
Once the Tigers get their bullpen back in order, they have a few options to replace Inge positionally. Jeff Larish has been the primary third baseman at Triple-A Toledo, and is batting .298 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 36 RBIs since June 1, but the Tigers didn’t consider Larish an everyday third baseman during his stints in Detroit. He was playing there to enhance his versatility.
Scott Sizemore, the Tigers’ Opening Day second baseman, has hit well since coming back from injuries and could feasibly return to the big leagues if the Tigers move Carlos Guillen to third. However, Sizemore just recently came off the DL with a hip injury, and Guillen hasn’t played third base since spending half the ’08 season there.
Guillen likely won’t have a problem moving again. How he does there remains to be seen. His middle infield instincts have allowed him to handle second base a little better than expected.
Detroit’s best defensive option could be to go with Kelly, an infielder by trade coming up through the Tigers farm system before adding outfield to his resume in recent years in the Pirates and Diamondbacks organizations. He’s batting .219 (25-for-114) with Detroit this year with three doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. Fellow Tigers utilityman Ryan Raburn also has experience at third base.

3 Comments

As much as I love Carlos (although a tad less after last night) I don’t think third is good for him. He is doing pretty good at 2nd, good at turning the dp. Of course I don’t have a great solution. Don Kelly for defensive purposes I think will be fine, just wish his bat had more happening, not that Brandon was tearing it up at the plate mind you.

I stayed up until the top of the 14th and sulked away after the homerun knowing full well we couldn’t top that after having way, way, way too many chances last night.

Come on guys, turn this around before the Jays, I will not be beat by my husbands team in person.

I was absolutely stunned when the camera panned in from Boesch’s ball dropping to Damon just getting to third. This team reminds me of a little league team with 1 or 2 decent players batting at the top and 1 or 2 really good ones batting after them. You hope that the top gets on so the middle has someone to drive in besides themselves and then pray for a minor miracle that someone from the bottom gets on once a game.

There is no one good option here. Anything they do will be a tradeoff. I personally lean towards Guillen at third because in 2008, once he settled in, he at least held the position down, and Raburn is actually a good secondbaseman. I’m not familiar with Sizemore’s physical condition. Kelly plays a good thirdbase but his bat is weak. Any of it will be a temporary fix since Inge should return but how effectively we don’t know.
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Bottom line, if we don’t start winning some games it won’t matter and they may as well showcase Larish at third.
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I’m still flabbergasted that Damon, one day after asserting his veteran presence in the clubhouse, was directly responsible for last night’s loss. I heard his explanation but it doesn’t fly. I would have bet money he’d never pull such a bonehead gaff. He got sucked in by a deke that wasn’t even a good one. The rattling sound you hear is me shaking my head.
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–Rich

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