When the Tigers designated Brandon Inge for assignment last month, he accepted a minor league assignment with Triple-A Toledo after being promised that he would rejoin the major league club in September. Well, he’s back a little sooner than originally expected.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Inge will have his contract purchased from the minors today and get the start at third base tonight against Indians’ left-hander David Huff.
Inge, 34, batted .287/.389/.519 with seven homers, 19 RBI and a .907 OPS over 126 plate appearances during his time with Triple-A Toledo, including a .395/.439/.684 batting line against southpaws. While he was designated for assignment after batting .177/.242/.242 over his first 239 plate appearances this season, he has a .793 career OPS against left-handed pitching compared to a .654 OPS against right-handers.
According to Beck, the Tigers made the move now because they are expected to see four or five left-handed starters between now and September 1. While Wilson Betemit, a switch-hitter, has seen most of the playing time at third base since being acquired from the Royals last month, he has an .812 career OPS against right-handed pitching compared to a .677 OPS against southpaws. Inge is also a much better defender, so this sounds like an ideal platoon situation.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.