Brandon Inge Breaks His Silence

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Bitter. Mad. Frustrated.
Brandon Inge acknowledged having those emotions Monday, when he broke his silence for the first time since the Detroit Tigers acquired third baseman Miguel Cabrera to replace him.
Inge asked the Tigers to trade him after they made a blockbuster deal nearly two months ago at the winter meetings, but they have not been able to move him and his hefty contract. He signed a $24 million, four-year deal last winter.
After talking to team president Dave Dombrowski on Monday, Inge said he is ready to move on and begrudgingly accept his role as a utility player.
"They're still trying to trade me, but I need to get ready for the possibility that I'm going to spring training with the Tigers," Inge said. "People have said or written, 'Take your $6 million and be happy sitting on the bench.' But money doesn't make me happy -- playing baseball does.
"The only reason I'm bitter, mad and frustrated is that I'm probably not going to play as much as I have in the past."
Inge played 469 games at third base the past three seasons, but the presence of Cabrera has relegated him to being a backup at that position and elsewhere on the field.
The 30-year-old Inge plans to work out with Detroit's pitchers and catchers on Feb. 15 in Lakeland, Fla., where he will get reacquainted with the job he had behind the plate in 104 games during the 2003 season.
Inge has a shot to be Ivan Rodriguez's primary backup because Vance Wilson has not recovered from elbow surgery that kept him off the field for all of last year.
The superb athlete also has major league experience at all three outfield positions and played shortstop and pitched in college at Virginia Commonwealth.
"I'll play him everywhere but as a pitcher," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I talked to Ingey today and we both agreed that after we discuss his situation during the first or second day of spring training, we're not going to talk about it anymore and we're going to make the best of it."
Inge hit .236 with 25 home runs and 71 RBIs in 151 games last year, when he had 18 errors and probably twice as many spectacular plays defensively.
Cabrera's batting average last season in Florida was .320 and he hit 34 homers with 119 RBIs. In five seasons with the Marlins, the four-time All-Star hit .313 with 138 home runs and 523 RBIs.
Detroit traded for Cabrera and starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis in early December, dealing six players, including highly rated prospects: left-hander Andrew Miller and outfielder Cameron Maybin.
Inge, one of the most accessible athletes in Detroit, kept his thoughts to himself for weeks and recently was criticized for it.
"I owe everything to my fans, but it wouldn't have done me or the Tigers any good to say, 'I don't know what's going to happen,' or for me to bash anybody about losing my job," Inge said.
"My first two hopes were to start at third for the Tigers or to start at another position for the team.
"Now that it looks like those two options are not going to happen, I thought it was time to talk."


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