Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 6:19 pm
With Brandon Inge struggling at third base, the Tigers have acquired Wilson Betemit from the Royals in a deal for two minor leaguers, the teams announced Wednesday.
To get Betemit, who hit .281 in 57 games for the Royals, the Tigers gave up a pair of players who were in Class A, pitcher Antonio Cruz and catcher Julio Rodriguez. Neither was considered to be one of the team's top prospects.
The Tigers have had just a .500 OPS out of their third basemen (mostly Inge, but also Don Kelly) this year. The only team worse has been the Mariners (mostly Chone Figgins), at .463.
The Tigers signed Inge to a two-year, $11.5 million contract last winter, but he has been awful offensively all season. Inge is hitting just .177, and has hit only one home run.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters in Detroit that he considers Kelly to be ahead of Inge on the Tigers' depth chart at third base. Dombrowski said that the Tigers would make a roster move once Betemit reports on Thursday, while refusing to commit on Inge's future with the team.
The Tigers went to the World Series with Inge as their third baseman in 2006, but he hit 27 home runs that year. He hit 27 again in 2009, but slipped to 13 last year and had just the one in 215 at-bats this season.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 1:57 pm
Zack Greinke got hurt playing basketball.
And Brandon Inge is playing hockey?
"I just hope he doesn't hurt himself," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
No problem, said Inge, who never skated until two years ago but fell so hard for hockey that he had a rink built in the front yard of his Michigan house.
"For my knees, it's the best thing," said Inge, who has had surgery on both knees and said that skating all winter actually helped him.
Inge grew up in Lynchburg, Va. He played baseball at VCU. He never thought about hockey until he took his kids to an Atlanta Thrashers game two years back.
"I was just trying to get them out of the house," he said. "But the kids loved it. They fell in love with it."
They wanted to skate, so he learned to skate, too.
When he moved back to Michigan full-time, he decided he needed a rink. Inge said it's 120 feet by 55, a little smaller than a regulation NHL rink, but big enough for a pickup game.
Major league contracts prohibit players from playing in hockey leagues, but pickup games are allowed.
"You just hope that they use wise judgement," Dombrowski said.
Inge said he did just that. He said he skated nearly every day over the winter, even arranging to skate with some players from the Detroit Red Wings at one point.
At 5-11 and 190 pounds, Inge doesn't exactly look like an NHL player, anyway. But he said that if he'd known about hockey as a kid, there's no doubt he would have given the game a go.
"Tell [Justin] Morneau I'm playing hockey," Inge said. "He's Canadian, right?"
Yes, he is.
"He could do it," Morneau said. "He's tough."
And he's hooked.
Now he just needs some help caring for his rink.
"Next year, I'm getting a Zamboni," Inge said.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 2:12 pm
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Chase Utley has patellar tendinitis. Brandon Inge had patellar tendinitis.
While that doesn't mean that what happened to Brandon Inge will happen to Chase Utley, the conditions are similar enough that the Phillies have asked the Tigers third baseman to talk to their injured second baseman.
Inge said Wednesday that he'll call Utley. He also said that he can't offer much encouragement.
"I wish I had better news," said Inge, who said that his knees are finally feeling good again, nearly a year and a half after surgery.
The Phillies said Wednesday morning that they'll seek additional opinions on Utley, who has seen the pain in his right knee persist despite a cortisone shot last Friday. The team said that surgery is still a last resort.
Inge said he played through the pain for the entire 2009 season, before having surgery that fall. He said cortisone shots didn't help him, either, and that other treatments provided only temporary relief, at best.
"I know one thing," Inge said. "The pain associated with it is not fun. If it's the same thing I had, he has two options: get it taken care of and miss the season, or really, really suck it up."
Inge had surgery in early November 2009, and was back on the field early in spring training 2010, a little more than three months later. But he said that he felt he came back earlier than he should have, and that his knee really wasn't at full strength at any point during the 2010 season.
Utley has been able to take batting practice this spring, but he hasn't been able to run or play defense. Inge said that sounds familiar, but he also said that the injury affected him at the plate.
"It was really hard to stay through the low and away pitch," Inge said. "But defense is the worst. Backhands are really tough."
Posted on: July 13, 2009 6:29 pm
ST. LOUIS -- A few notes and thoughts from All-Star Monday:
-- This one counts?
Since 2003, when baseball began awarding home-field advantage in the World Series to the league that won the All-Star Game, the American League has won every year. Not that it has helped in October, because the National League team has won three of those six World Series, including two of the last three. One issue: There hasn't been a seven-game World Series since 2002, and there hasn't even been a six-game World Series since 2003.
Still, players from the Tigers and Rays, who lost in 2006 and 2008 despite home-field advantage, said Monday that they would very much prefer to have home-field advantage if they get back to the World Series this October.
"The way we play at home (29-15 this year), it helps us out a lot," Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett said. "Last year, I think what happened was we were playing so great, but when we got to the World Series we changed our game. I really feel like if we get there again and we have the home-field advantage, we'd do it this time."
"It didn't work out last year, but in the grand scheme of things, it would be great to have it again," first baseman Carlos Pena agreed. "We were just emotionally drained from the Boston series (in the ALCS) last year, so we didn't take advantage of it."
Like the 2008 Rays, the 2006 Tigers split the first two games at home, then lost three straight on the road.
"I think if we could have gotten back to our place (for Game 6), playing in front of our home crowds, it could have been different," Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said. "Home-field advantage is worth a lot."
"I saw a stat where 18 of the last 23 teams with home-field advantage won it," Tigers starter Justin Verlander said. "But you'd better check that."
We checked, and he's right.
-- Brantorino, explained
So now we know where the idea for last week's Brantorino final-vote push came from. It came from Shane Victorino.
The Phillies outfielder revealed today that he was the one who suggested to Bonnie Clark (the Phils' vice president for communications) that they team up with the Tigers for a two-team voting bloc to win the final vote for him and for Inge. He didn't take credit for the "Brantorino" marketing slogan, just the idea of teaming up.
"I just knew Inge and I were in second place in the voting," Victorino said. "And I knew Detroit was a great baseball city, just like Philadelphia."
Sure enough, it worked, as Victorino and Inge went on to win the voting.
-- A vote for Bob Melvin
Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson played for Bob Melvin the last three years in Arizona. He plays for Joe Torre now.
He sees a connection.
"[Melvin] reminds me of a young Torre," Hudson said.
So he was disappointed to see Melvin get fired?
"No, I was happy for him," Hudson said. "I was happy for him to get a fresh start."
-- Little man in the Derby
Inge said he was more excited about Monday night's Home Run Derby than about Tuesday's game.
"I might set a record for the smallest Home Run Derby contestant ever," said Inge, who the Tigers list at 5-11, 190.
Inge said his last Home Run Derby was at the Southern League All-Star Game in Greenville, S.C.
"That one didn't go so well," he said. "I went 0 for my first 9. But then I think I hit the farthest ball in the Derby."
Posted on: July 8, 2009 2:08 pm
Here at CBSSports.com, we're never sure quite what to make of the All-Star final vote.
On the one hand, it's a blatant attempt to get people to go to another website, namely mlb.com . On the other, it's a cute way to limit the talk of All-Star snubs, because the fans get to pick one last player and right one wrong.
Mostly, we haven't paid it much attention, which is why we were so surprised to hear that one of the contenders this year is a guy named Brantorino.
Search as we can through baseball-reference.com , and we can't find a single guy by that name playing baseball right now. Can't find anyone on the baseball cube , either.
It turns out this is yet another marketing ploy, but one that intrigues us. It turns out that the Tigers and Phillies got together on this one, with the Tigers encouraging their fans to vote not only for their own third baseman, Brandon Inge, but also for the Phillies' center fielder, Shane Victorino.
Thus, Brantorino, which has the advantage of sounding a little like Gran Torino, the Clint Eastwood movie set in suburban Detroit.
Other than that? Well, there's really not much connection between the Phillies and the Tigers, or between Inge and Victorino, for that matter.
But the Phillies and Tigers were a little concerned when they saw the Rangers and Giants seeming to pair up to push Ian Kinsler and Pablo Sandoval (which only began as a "If you get your employees to vote Pablo, we'll get ours to vote Ian" deal), and by Angels and Dodgers coming up with a "Vote SoCal" campaign for Chone Figgins and James Loney.
Thus, Brantorino, which only came together Wednesday morning, but has already resulted in press releases asking businesses in Pennsylvania and Michigan to allow their employees enough computer time to vote for both Victorino and Inge.
It's not bad, although it's not the best final vote campaign we've ever heard of.
That honor still rests with the White Sox, who got A.J. Pierzynski to the 2006 All-Star Game by urging fans to "Punch A.J." Perfect, since Pierzynski is the player so many fans (and opponents and teammates) love to hate.
Posted on: June 9, 2008 6:10 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2008 6:12 pm
Pudge Rodriguez seemed done with the Tigers last year, but owner Mike Ilitch went against the advice of many of his baseball people and picked up Rodriguez's $13 million option, explaining to them that Rodriguez meant too much to the team to let him go.
Now it seems safe to say that Rodriguez really is on the way out.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced today that he'll start alternating Rodriguez and Brandon Inge behind the plate. The reason is obvious: Rodriguez is 4-for-35 (.114) with no extra-base hits in his last 11 games. Leyland said that he wants to "keep (Rodriguez) fresher," and also that he wants to find out how Inge will do with more regular work behind the plate.
"I still think I can do it," he said. "I don't know if they think I can. I believe in myself."
Rodriguez is 36, but believes he can catch until he's 40. Had the Tigers not picked up his contract option last fall, he believed he would get at least a three-year contract, possibly with the Mets. Now it seems clearer than ever that he'll be headed elsewhere this fall -- if not before then.
If the Tigers fall completely out of the race in the American League Central, it's safe to assume that they would look to trade Rodriguez next month. It's harder to imagine the Tigers trading Rodriguez if they don't fall out of the race, because it would leave them with Inge as their only catcher with significant big-league experience.
The Tigers do need to find out whether Inge can be their everyday catcher next year. He has gone back and forth on his willingness to catch, but recently he has said he wants to do it.