DETROIT (97.1 The Ticket) The Detroit Tigers have unconditionally released Brandon Inge today following their 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners. Brad Eldred, who has been hitting .388 with 13 HRS and 35 RBI, was called up from Toledo to replace him.
Interviewed after the game, Inge, 34, was philosophical about it.
“It’s one of those things, you can see how they’re going before they come. My heart will always be in Detroit,” Inge said, adding, “It’s a business when it comes to it. I hope the team does well, and wins it all.”
Inge has been a controversial figure for the Tigers, with a big base of fans and an equal number of non-fans.
“Why is he playing? Why is he on the team? How in the hell can he be batting .056 and keep a job?” 97.1 The Ticket host Terry Foster wrote in a blog. “He hit a home run in Kansas City and disappeared. His batting average never got above .167 this season. And we thought batting .181 in spring training was bad. We thought batting .197 last season was bad. Heck, Inge looked like Ted Williams compared to what he is doing now.”
Inge was booed loudly during Tigers Opening Day and the fans’ dissatisfaction only increased as his batting average decreased. The booing has taken over Comerica Park during Inge’s most recent appearances — especially after his batting average dropped to .056.
Inge said that even though some fans turned on him, he still loves the Tigers and the city.
“There’s nothin’, nothin’ that anyone could ever do who would ever change my opinion of Detroit, this organization,” said Inge. “It’s been a class act through and through and I’ve actually been very. very proud to be a part of it.”
But before the season started, Coach Jim Leyland and General Manager Dave Dombrowski both said they had high hopes for Inge at second base.
After the first exhibition game of the season, Dombrowski said about Inge: “If you watch him play second base, you would think he’s played there for the last 10 years, he’s moved that well to second base.. He’s been tremendous defensively, he’s got a great arm, great hands…He’s been phenomenal. People will be shocked when they see him play.”
After being displaced from third base to second base by the team’s new slugger Prince Fielder, Inge made a few notable defensive plays and hit one big home run.
Inge played for the Tigers since 2001, starting as a catcher and moving around to fill gaps as new players joined the team. He hit .197 last season.