Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 7-21-11
Inge designated for assignment
Brandon Inge’s decade-long career with the Tigers may be over. Or maybe not.
General manager Dave Dombrowski said after Detroit blew a 5-3 lead in a 7-5 loss to Oakland that Inge will be designated for assignment Thursday and if he clears waivers Monday, “which we anticipate that he will… he has agreed that he will join our Toledo club at that time.
“It’s a tough move. Brandon’s done a lot for this franchise. He knows he’s scuffling at this point. He wants to go down and show that he can help the ball club.”
The decision came as Detroit acquired Wilson Betemit from Kansas City as an offensive upgrade from Inge, who was hitting .177.
The Tigers entered the month with offensive question marks at second and third. They hope the return of Carlos Guillen, while limited defensively in range, will solve the problem at second (if he can buck his recent history of injuries) and now look to Betemit to give them a lineup that will cause problems from one through nine.
“We’ve scuffled,” Dombrowski said of third base. “Betemit is a solid guy, a switch hitter who fits into our lineup real well.
“It’s just come to a point where it’s decision time in the sense that you get to July 31 and you may not be able to make a move. I was talking to a couple other clubs, but one primarily, about a third baseman that isn’t going to go anywhere, so really your choices at third base are really limited if you’re going to do something.
“So we didn’t want to get caught where we were sitting there and you come to July 31 and all of a sudden you say, ‘Well, he’s still scuffling at this point, what do we do at this time?’ It was the right time to make the move and Kansas City was willing to do it.”
Detroit could have released Inge so any team could pick him up for the pro-rated minimum. The Tigers would be responsible for the remainder of his $5.75 million this season and an equal amount in 2012. He has a $6 million option for 2013 that could be bought out for $500,000.
“I hashed it out for a while with my agent,” Inge said, “trying to figure out which direction to go. I live here. My kids go to school here. I’ve made this home. No matter what happens, whatever will happen, this is going to be home for me.
“Everyone goes through rough patches in their career. I’m a big believe that everything happens for a reason. I opted not to make the decision to push them to make the decision to release me. Mr. Ilitch (team owner Mike) reached out. He did not want to release me. He did not want me to go anywhere.
“I need to go down and work on something. It’s my fault. It’s an opportunity for me to go down and work on my swing. I’ll be back.”
The Tigers will be outrighting Inge to Toledo, meaning he is no longer on the 40-man roster. But since the organization is paying him, it would be reasonable for them to invite him to spring training next year — if he can solve his hitting woes.
“We’re glad that he’s decided to do that,” Dombrowski said. “We hope that we get him down there, get him straightened out and come back and rejoin us as soon as possible.
“He doesn’t want to go anywhere. He’s been part of this organization for a long time.”
But, in a way, no longer.
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