August 17th, 2011

Inge could be back in mix at third come September

The topic came up innocently enough, with Jim Leyland asked about Wilson Betemit’s contributions since the trade and his role going forward.

“Probably the ideal situation for us is to mix and match a bit,” Leyland said.

That’s what he has been doing with Betemit, Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn lately. Once rosters expand in September, that could be what he’s doing with Brandon Inge as well.

When the Tigers designated Inge for assignment and later outrighted his contract to Triple-A Toledo, they did it with the understanding that Inge would be back in Detroit once rosters expand Sept. 1, if not sooner. Inge probably would have opted for free agency without that. What role, if any, he would take in September has been more of a question.

Leyland didn’t set it as the plan, but he said Wednesday he’s considering using Inge in the third-base mix against left-handed pitching, as well as for late-inning defense. That could change, but it’s a sign that he’ll be doing more than watching games in uniform.

Inge entered Wednesday batting .316 for the Mud Hens with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 21 games since being outrighted. Granted, it’s against Triple-A pitching, but it’s a sign of encouragement. The numbers against lefties are particularly so, going 15-for-34 (.441) with three homers and nine RBIs.

Wednesday: Tigers vs. Twins

As Jim Leyland suggested last night, Andy Dirks is starting in center field, with Austin Jackson off. He’s healthy, but he’s getting a night off ahead of the off-day. Alex Avila is back behind the plate.

TIGERS

  1. Andy Dirks, CF
  2. Brennan Boesch, RF
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Don Kelly, 3B
  9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

P: Brad Penny

TWINS

  1. Ben Revere, CF
  2. Trevor Plouffe, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, RF
  6. Jim Thome, DH
  7. Danny Valencia, 3B
  8. Rene Tosoni, LF
  9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

P: Carl Pavano

Mariners take Chance on Ruffin as PTBNL

With Chance Ruffin now one year past his signing, he’s officially eligible to be traded, and he’s off to Seattle. He was the player to be named in the Doug Fister trade. The Mariners immediately called him up and designated Aaron Laffey for assignment to make room for him. He’ll join Casper Wells and Charlie Furbush in Seattle.

Ruffin is the second relief prospect to be moved in as many days, though technically he was dealt long before the Delmon Young trade Monday that sent Lester Oliveros to Minnesota yesterday. Ruffin is the bigger loss; at worst, he was seen as a quality middle relief candidate with a chance for setup work.

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