Tuesday night Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge found himself in familiar suroundings. Instead of Comerica Park in Detroit, Inge found himself at Fifth Third Field in Comstock Park, just north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on a rahab assigment, after a pitch broke a finger on his left hand. Inge played his first season of professional baseball there as a catcher back in 1999, where he batted .244 with nine home runs, 46 RBI’s and 25 doubles. Inge seemed to have fond memories of his time in West Michigan.
“I love it here, I really do,” Inge told the Grand Rapids Press. “It’s kind of the starting point for me. This was the first full season I had in the minor leagues. This place produces great ballplayers, and it’s the first place you go to where you have larger crowds. People are very loyal here–the most loyal I’ve ever seen.”
In the game, Inge went 2-5 with two doubles and an RBI in a 7-6 loss to the Great Lakes Loons. His broken finger has seemed to healed nicely for him as well. After the game he stated:
“I feel suprisingly good, seeing as I don’t have any pain and I’m happy with where I am right now. In don’t like to sit on the DL very long. A broken bone is a broken bone, but this whole time, for some reason, it hasn’t felt as bad as other broken bones I’ve had.”
Inge is one of the most popular Whitecaps alumni, and was inducted into the ‘Caps inagural Hall of Fame. The Whitecaps also gave out 1,000 Inge bobbleheads back in June as a promotion. He spent about 20 minutes signing autographs before the game, and recieved a huge ovation from the rabid West Michigan crowd when introduced as the starting third baseman.
Photos courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press
‘Caps in Second(to last): With a record of 7-14 so far this young season, obviously West Michigan’s young roster is having some struggles. The Whitecaps finally broke out of thier offensive slump yesterday, though, beating the Lansing Lugnuts 7-2 on the back of 12 hits. They had scored just three runs in their previous five games. The losing streak even prompted manager Joe DePastino to call their hitting struggles ‘ugly’ earlier this week. Instead of having someone throw batting practice, he had the team use the pitching machine with some speed in order to get the team to shorten their strides and hit line drives up the middle. It seemed to have worked.
The bright spot so far in 2010 is the young pitching staff. This year’s rotation is sporting a solid 3.15 ERA with the bullben being 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA in the past 15 games. Starter Trevor Feeney leads the way with 24 strikeouts and a 3.25 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched. Also throwing well are Jacob Turner (0-0, 1.00) and Giovani Soto (1-1, 2.63). Turner unfortunately was place on the DL Monday for stiffness in his right arm. He had only allowed one run and seven hits in his two starts.
Inge Bobblehead: If you happen to be in the Grand Rapids area on May 7, stop into Fifth Third Ballpark for your free Brandon Inge bobblehead. The bobbling likeness of the former Whitecap and current Detroit Tiger will be given away to the first 1,000 fans through the gate.
Boesch MLB Debut: Outfielder Brennan Boesch recently made his Major League debut for the Tigers after Carlos Guillen was placed on the DL. In five game with the Tigers he is batting .278 with five hits, including three doubles and three RBI’s. He was a 3rd round pick of Detroit in the 2006 draft. Playing for the Whitecaps in 2007, he hit .267 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs. This kid definately has some power. He’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts and work on his fielding a bit to stay up at this level.
This will be my last post for at least another week or so, as I’m leaving for my baseball trip to Iowa later today. Wish me a safe journey with no rainouts.
Inge photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps
Boesch photo courtesy of the Midwest League
Monday night Tiger third baseman Brandon Inge forfilled a life-long dream of competing in a Home Run Derby. For all his efforts, he hit 0 home runs. That’s
right, the big goose-egg. Some came close, flying to the warning track, and his last attempt just floating foul. Despite being shut out, Brandon walked back to his teammates with a huge smile on his face. Why?-might you ask, would someone smile after not hitting at least one home run during a competion like this? The answer is easy. Brandon was doing what not enough players of even fans do-just having fun.
After a disappointing season last year, Inge is simply happy to be an All-Star. He’s happy to be recognized for his efforts this season and to be part of the festivities in St. Louis. So what if he didn’t hit a home run. He was there.
Maybe we all can learn a little bit from Inge’s reaction. After all, we really are all on the same team here. We’re baseball fans. I really don’t think the players view the rivalries the way the fans do. I don’t really think most players hate players from other teams. So tonight while watching the game, just sit back and enjoy it. After all, it’s for us, the fans, anyway. We don’t have to worry about winning and losing. And this fall, lets keep the same attitude about our team and the one’s they’re playing in the playoffs. Why hate anyone? Especially just because they support or play on a certain team. Just relax, have a beer, and keep the smile on your face. After all, you’re watching baseball.
Detroit Tiger and former West Michigan Whitecap Brandon Inge has been voted into the All-Star game. He was voted in by the fans to the 33rd and final roster spot for the American League. Inge will also live a childhood dream of competing in the Home Run Derby. He stated he watched that more as a kid than the game itself. Being regarded as one of the best defensive third baseman in the business surely helped his cause, but slugging 19 home runs and 54 RBI’s may have convinced a few voters, too. During last night’s telecast versus the Indians, Inge came on and stated he was ‘floored’ by being voted in and thanked all of the fans who voted for him.
In 1999, however, Inge was a catcher for the Whitecaps. He was actually named the best defensive catcher in the Tigers system by Baseball America with a .900 fielding percentage, 703 put-outs and only five errors. At the plate he hit .244 with 54 runs, 86 hits, 25 doubles, nine home runs and 46 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He was noted as a team leader and gave plenty of free time to community appearances. Also this year, he was part of the Inaugural Class of the Whitecaps Hall of Fame.
Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps