He returned to Comerica Park for the first time since he was with the Oakland Athletics in the 2012 American League Division Series as an injured backup third baseman, and he caught the first pitch from former teammate Justin Verlander.“I did shake off Verlander,” Inge said, “Two times.
First, of course, Inge pouted when the Tigers acquired Cabrera and announced that he would be their everyday third baseman.
Inge requested a trade, but no deal was made that spring.
Then, in February of 2004, the Tigers made a splash by signing free agent All-Star Ivan Rodriguez.
Unquestionably the best defensive catcher in baseball, Pudge ignored the fact that the Tigers had lost 119 games the previous season and inked a four-year, $40 million deal to play in Detroit.
He chose the later, swallowed his pride, and went down to Toledo where he spent a month working on his swing. Forget: The disappointment of 2008, decline of his skills, fat contracts Brandon had a poor 2007 season, but in 2008 there were great expectations for the Tigers.
On August 20 he was called back up, a little more humbled and talking about how he had refound his love for the game. In his first game back he hit a home run in his first at-bat, off David Huff of the Indians, as the Tigers rollicked to a 10-1 victory. The team had added Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in a trade with the Marlins, and signed free agent slugger Gary Sheffield.
“[I know Pudge] has that reputation [as a great defensive catcher] but I think I’m the best catcher in the game, that’s how I look at myself.” Manager Alan Trammell used Inge as a super-sub in ’04: primarily at third, catcher, and center field. Remember: The welcome back homer On July 19, 2011, Inge was batting .177 with one home run.
Leyland had taken to pinch-hitting for him in tough situations.
Brandon Inge had never seen a crowd like that before.