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.