Brandon Inge

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Brandon Inge
Brandon Inge on May 3, 2013.jpg
Tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013.
Free agent
Third baseman / Catcher
Born: (1977-05-19) May 19, 1977 (age 37)
Lynchburg, Virginia
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 3, 2001 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average .233
Home runs 152
Runs batted in 648
Hits 1,166
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Charles Brandon Inge (/ˈɪn/ INJ; born May 19, 1977) is a professional baseball free agent third baseman in Major League Baseball. Inge played 12 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, then one with the Oakland Athletics before being signed to the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system in 2013. He bats and throws right-handed.

Sportswriter Jayson Stark described Inge as a "super-utility dervish."[1] In 2006, his diving stop and subsequent throw from his knees to put out Gary Bennett in an interleague game, on June 25 against the St. Louis Cardinals earned him the ESPN defensive play of the year for a third baseman.[2]

Early life[edit]

Inge played baseball at Brookville High School in Lynchburg, Virginia. He then attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where he played on the baseball team as a shortstop and relief pitcher. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2nd round in the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft.

Career[edit]

Detroit Tigers[edit]

Initially signed as a catcher, Inge struggled offensively in his first three seasons. After the Tigers signed free-agent Iván Rodríguez in 2004, Inge played in the outfield, catcher and at third base, batting .287 with 13 home runs that season.

He started 159 games at third base in 2005, and led all AL third basemen in errors (23), assists (378) and double plays (42).[3] In 2006, Inge exceeded his 2005 totals with 398 assists. That number broke the Detroit Tigers single season record for assists by a 3rd baseman (previously 389 by Aurelio Rodríguez in 1974) and was only 14 short of the all time MLB record for assists by a third baseman (set by Graig Nettles in 1971). Only five third basemen (including Graig Nettles, Brooks Robinson, and Mike Schmidt) have collected more assists in a season than Inge.

In 2006, Inge showed power during the first half, with his 17 home runs tying for the team lead. His slugging percentage was .463 and he placed third on the Tigers with 47 RBIs.[4] After the All-Star Break, he raised his season average from .221 to .253 and finished with 27 home runs.[5]

Inge became expendable at third base after the Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera in a blockbuster trade with the Florida Marlins.[6] Inge asked management to trade him to a team where he would have a chance to be an everyday player. However, a deal was never made, and the team stated that he would be used as a utility player for the 2008 season.[7] Inge reported to spring training early with the pitchers and catchers. He was named the opening day center fielder after Curtis Granderson was placed on the disabled list.

Inge playing as a catcher for the Detroit Tigers in 2008

With the absence of backup catcher Vance Wilson, Inge filled this role for the 13-time Gold Glove winner Iván Rodríguez. Inge took over the catching position full-time after Rodríguez was traded to the New York Yankees on July 30, 2008.[8]

On September 27, Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced that he would move Inge back to third base for the 2009 season.[9]

Inge opened the 2009 season as the starting third baseman for the Tigers. He started the season by successfully reaching base 24 games in a row, the longest such streak for the Tigers since 1976.[10] Through the first half of the 2009 season, Inge led the team in home runs with 21[11] and was named to the All-Star team.

Having received a record 11.8 million votes in the Final Vote, Inge was selected to his first All Star Game, joining teammates Curtis Granderson, Justin Verlander, and Edwin Jackson on the American League squad. Inge participated in the Home Run Derby and became the eighth player in the history of the Derby to not hit a single home run.[12] In August of 2009, he hit two homeruns for a couple of sick kids named Noah Biorkman and Tommy Shomaker.

Inge underwent surgery on both of his knees on November 3, 2009. He attended a strengthening and rehabilitation program during the winter. He made a full recovery in time to play midway through spring training, and started at third base on Opening Day of the 2010 season in Kansas City.[13]

On July 19, 2010, Inge was hit on the left hand by a pitch. X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal. Doctors said it would take 4–6 weeks to heal,[14] however he returned two weeks later.

On August 26, 2010, Inge achieved his 1,000th career hit against the Kansas City Royals.

On September 25, 2010, Inge set the Tigers franchise mark for strikeouts with 1,100.[15] In the same game however, Inge had the game-winning hit in the 13th inning against the Minnesota Twins.

At the conclusion of the season, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski announced plans to re-sign Inge to a multi-year contract.[16]

Inge received the 2010 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, given by the Major League Baseball Players Association each year "to the player whose on-field performances and community outreach most inspire others to higher levels of achievement."[17]

On June 3, 2011, Inge was placed on the 15-day disabled list with mononucleosis.[18] In 239 plate appearances with Detroit in 2011, he recorded a .177 batting average, before being designated for assignment on July 20.[19] He was outrighted to Triple-A on July 26.[20] In his return to the Tigers on August 20, Inge went 2-for-4, hitting a home run in his first at-bat and driving in two runs, en route to a 10–1 win over the second-place Cleveland Indians.[21]

Inge during his tenure with the Oakland Athletics in 2012

As of January 26, 2012, Inge had lost his starting 3rd base job to Miguel Cabrera who was moving back to the hot corner after the Tigers announced they had signed slugger Prince Fielder to play 1st base. At the press conference announcing the Fielder signing, manager Jim Leyland said that Inge "was not a happy camper". Leyland also said that Inge would be able to play second base for the Tigers, along with Ramon Santiago, and Ryan Raburn, but Inge was still thinking he should have a full-time job. Brandon continued to play second base with the others as Leyland said anyways. Brandon Inge was released by the Tigers following their game on April 26, 2012.[22]

Oakland Athletics[edit]

Inge agreed to sign with the Oakland Athletics on April 29, 2012 on a $5.5 million deal.[23] The signing provided infield depth for Oakland, who lost Scott Sizemore to a knee injury. He initially wore number 18, but switched to number 7 after a few games (his old #15 was worn by teammate Seth Smith). In his first game against the Tigers a week later, Inge hit a grand slam. On September 1, after dislocating his shoulder for the second time within a month, Inge was forced to undergo season ending shoulder surgery.[24]

Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]

On February 12, 2013, Inge inked a minor-league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started the 2013 season on the disabled list.[25] On April 23, 2013, Inge was recalled from AAA. He was designated for assignment on July 23, 2013 and released seven days later.

Toronto Blue Jays[edit]

On August 17, 2013, Inge signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. He was released on August 23, 2013.

Personal[edit]

Inge currently resides in Saline, Michigan.[26] In August 2009, Inge received two tattoos, one on each forearm, on a West Coast road trip. The tattoos are the names of his sons, "Chase" and "Tyler".[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stark, Jayson (July 12, 2008). "Honoring the very best (and worst) of the first half". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Brandon Inge Diving Stop". MLB.com. June 25, 2006. 
  3. ^ 2005 American League third basemen fielding statistics Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Brandon Inge 2006 splits Baseball Reference
  5. ^ Brandon Inge profile Baseball Reference
  6. ^ "Tigers send top prospects to Marlins for Cabrera, Willis". ESPN. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Inge preparing for utility role in 2008". MLB.com. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Yankees find their catcher for stretch, trade for Rodriguez". ESPN.com. July 30, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2008. 
  9. ^ Tigers win, position changes for 2009 announced MLive.com September 27, 2008
  10. ^ Liriano fans 9 to lead Twins past Tigers 7–2 Yahoo! Sports (Associated Press) May 4, 2009
  11. ^ Brandon Inge 2009 splits Baseball Reference
  12. ^ Home Run Derby results MLB.com
  13. ^ Inge undergoes successful knee surgery MLB.com November 4, 2009
  14. ^ Inge out 4–6 weeks with fracture in left hand MLB.com July 19, 2010
  15. ^ Inge sets Tigers franchise mark for strikeouts MLB.com September 26, 2010
  16. ^ Brandon Inge 'ecstatic' about Tigers' interest; Jhonny Peralta expects to be back in Detroit MLive.com October 3, 2010
  17. ^ "Gonzalez, Inge receive top awards". Mlb.com. October 29, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  18. ^ Mono forces Inge to disabled list MLB.com June 3, 2011
  19. ^ Nicholson-Smith, Ben. "Tigers Designate Brandon Inge For Assignment". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved July 21, 2011. 
  20. ^ Dierkes, Tim. "Outrighted: Brandon Inge". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  21. ^ Beck, Jason. "Inge powers Tigers in climactic return to team". MLB.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  22. ^ Detroit Tigers sever ties with Brandon Inge, but 'heart will always be in Detroit' MLive.com, April 26, 2012
  23. ^ Brandon Inge agrees to sign with the A's The San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2012
  24. ^ [1] CSN Bayarea September 1, 2012
  25. ^ http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/02/pirates-brandon-inge-close-to-deal.html
  26. ^ Tigers' Inge will cheer on Michigan at the Big Chill Detroit Free Press December 9, 2010
  27. ^ Brandon Inge Sports New Tattoos WJBK-TV August 26, 2009

External links[edit]