May 10th, 2012
Brandon Inge had to make a whole different catch than he’s known for when he was asked Thursday if any of his old Tigers teammates sent him a cool text message about his grand slam the other day.
“I got a bunch from a lot of guys,” he said Thursday. “That’s a class act over in that clubhouse. It’s weird to say that other clubhouse.”
He isn’t the only one having to make the transition, but he’s having an easier time getting used to it.
When the Tigers released Inge last month, he said, his four-year-old son Chase supposedly threw his Tigers hat on the ground in frustration without really knowing what he was frustrated about. His older son, Tyler, awkwardly tried to console him.
“He goes, ‘Daddy, I feel really bad for you that the Tigers kicked you off the team,’” Inge said. “I almost broke into tears laughing so hard.”
He’s having fun with it now. Instead of a veteran without a role in Detroit, he has become a makeshift elder statesman for a young team in Oakland. More important to him, he has become an everyday player.
“I was just actually so glad to get a fresh start,” he said. “I don’t mean fresh start by trying to get out of Detroit. I mean fresh start by being able to start every day. I would’ve been very open to having a starting job in Detroit, too, because that’s home for me. That’s family. But I knew there wasn’t going to be an opportunity. Getting an opportunity to start every day, that was the key. That was my main goal.”
Other quotes from Inge …
- On interest from other teams: “There was a few involved, but this one was the best fit for me for playing every day, getting the most number of at-bats, for Bob Melvin managing.”
- On getting revenge against his old club: “You know what, I’m not like that at all. I compete, but don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any ill feelings whatsoever, not one. On the other hand, I want to make every play that I can. But they know, I want to do that against everybody. The only thing that would be fun in this is to be able to make a couple plays and wink and give a look over there. It would be so much fun. I’m basically playing with 49 family members today. I’ve got this family and then I’ve got all 25 on that team, they’re family.”
- On how much everyday play makes a difference: “I guess I would say I’m not talented enough to take an at-bat and then take four or five days off and then have another at-bat. I’m not knocking anyone. I’m not very good at it. I need to have an at-bat to base my next at-bat off of, to have a feeling. Everything I do, I do off of feel. So if I don’t have something to go off of, I kind of get lost in limbo a little bit.”
- On wondering about fan reaction back home: “I don’t worry or wonder, to be honest with you. I know in my heart that I gave every bit of energy I had in the tank for that team, for that organization, for that state, city, everything. True fans are going to like it. Other fans, they can critique all they want, that’s fine, and I don’t my mind it. Good fan, bad fan, they’re all fans, and I like them. It’s interest in baseball, so that’s the most important thing. The only thing I care about is if I play hard for my team.”
- On whether it was tough to focus with all the attention near the end in Detroit: “It was more of a change of scenery, to be honest with you, but I’ll always be a Detroit guy. I don’t know how to explain it. But yeah, towards the end, it was hard to focus on baseball — and not so much from the fans’ perspective, but knowing that I wasn’t going to be in there every day, trying to figure out what my role was going to be, trying to see if I was going to be able to get out of there or stay. I didn’t know what was going to happen, so it’s hard to focus on baseball. Getting out of there, knowing my role, knowing how I can do it every single day, that helps.”
- On being a lightning rod in Detroit: “Listen, if you get a bunch of interest, you must be doing something right, one way or the other. Either which way it goes, I guess I’m honored to be popular, good or bad.”
- On those white shoes the A’s wear: “I pulled my pants on and I saw these, and I said, ‘Nope, that’s not going to be work. I love them now. I love the tradition they have with the white shoes, and they stick with them.”
Alex Avila is back in the Tigers starting lineup against Bartolo Colon, whom he has hit for two home runs in three at-bats. So is Andy Dirks, who retakes the second spot in the Tigers batting order.
As for Oakland, Brandon Inge is batting sixth. Yoenis Cespedes is not in the lineup.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Andy Dirks, LF
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Delmon Young, DH (3-for-6 off Colon)
- Alex Avila, C
- Ryan Raburn, 2B
- Brennan Boesch, RF
- Ramon Santiago, SS (11-for-20, 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 3 RBI off Colon)
P: Max Scherzer
- Jemile Weeks, 2B
- Cliff Pennington, SS
- Josh Reddick, CF
- Jonny Gomes, DH
- Seth Smith, LF
- Brandon Inge, 3B
- Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
- Kurt Suzuki, C
- Michael Taylor, RF
P: Bartolo Colon