By C. Trent Rosecrans
With Miguel Cabrera supposedly taking over at third base, Detroit's Brandon Inge is out of a job.
So, Inge is doing what people do when they get ousted from their job -- they look for a new one. In Inge's case, it's at second base. The Tigers may have two first basemen (and a third when Victor Martinez returns in 2013), but they don't have a proven starter at second base. Going into camp, Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn were expected to platoon at second.
Inge, 34, has started 924 career games at third base, none at second. He's also played all three outfield spots and started his career as a catcher.
An All-Star in 2009, Inge hit just .197/.265/.283 with three home runs last season. In parts of 11 seasons, he's hit .235/.305/.388.
"I'm going to play the best team, though. If you're the best second baseman and can produce, that's the way it is," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told reporters on Thursday, including the Detroit News' Tom Gage. "I think it's good. It burt Brandon's bubble a little bit when [the Tigers moved Miguel Cabrera to third], but he thought about it and said, 'You know what? Maybe I can [adjust].' And if he's the best player, I'll play him."
Santiago, a switch hitter, started 40 games at second last season, playing 75 at the position. He hit .260/.311/.384 with five homers.
Raburn played seven different spots last season (DH and all the defensive spots other than catcher, pitcher and shortstop), starting 55 games at second base. He hit .256/.297/.432 with 14 home runs.
Inge is in the second year of a two-year deal and is still owed $6 million.
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