Brandon Inge to rejoin Tigers today, share playing time at third base

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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.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.