Inge aboard, bats eighth in A’s debut
It appears Brandon Inge may be the piece missing from the A’s puzzle.
Only time will tell if he’s the perfect fit, but both parties seem to think so.
Inge, whose one-year deal with Oakland was made official Monday, was immediately inserted into the lineup for the club’s three-game series opener in Boston, batting eighth and playing third base, where he’s expected to remain until further notice.
“We’ve had some difficulties defensively at times this year at the position,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Unfortunately, it’s been a little bit of a revolving door, which we certainly don’t want to have, but we’re in the situation we’re in, and we feel good about getting him in there.
“We finally feel like we have a third baseman we can plug in there every day.”
Inge is anxious for the opportunity, one he wasn’t getting from the Tigers, who ended a 12-year relationship with the veteran when they released him last week. Inge insists “there are no hard feelings” for the Detroit organization. In fact, he had prepared for the parting of ways, noting he was close to approaching them about the chance to find a new team “that will better suit me.”
Inge has fond memories of the one he landed with, not only because of his success against them during the 2006 American League Championship Series won by Detroit, but from his childhood days, which included a trip to Kansas City to see a matchup between the Royals and A’s.
“That day, I remember [Mark] McGwire taking batting practice, Rickey [Henderson] there,” Inge said. “I was a huge fan of this team, so it’s fun I get to be a part of an organization that has such a rich history.”
Inge happens to be quite familiar with Melvin, whom he worked with as a catcher when Melvin served as Detroit’s bench coach during the 2000 season. Inge calls the skipper “one of the most nice guys I’ve come across,” while Melvin thinks just as highly of his new player he deems “a bulldog” and “just a terrific athlete.”
“He’s been playing this game a long time, and what I know just from playing against him, is the fact you know what kind of defense he brings to the table,” Cliff Pennington said. “The veteran presence is huge. We always need that around here. I think he’s the kind of guy we’re going to like, and the kind of guy who’s going to be a really good fit for this clubhouse.”
Inge, it seems, is adjusting just fine.
“I’m excited, I am,” he said. “It’s a little different. I’m not going to lie, a little different looking at these white shoes here. I bet everyone says that when they come over here, don’t they? I don’t mind, I kind of like it.”