Brandon Inge has been activated today by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had been on a rehab assignment with the Pirates’ Triple-A team, the Indianapolis Indians. In 60 at-bats with the Indians, Inge batted for a .150/.320/.283 slash line. While playing in Triple-A, Inge played a lot of positions, including third base, shortstop, second base, first base and left field.
In order to call Inge up, the Pirates had to option outfielder Alex Presley back down to Triple-A Indy.
Inge is likely going to serve as a backup utility infielder for the Pirates, with occasional starts against tough left-handed pitchers. He is in the lineup tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies, with Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies.
Most Pirates fans that I have talked to about Inge can’t stand having him on the roster. I understand where they are coming from, but I don’t agree. I think he is going to be a better option against left-handed pitchers than Pedro Alvarez would be.
Against left-handed pitching over his career, Inge has batted .261/.337/.455 and Alvarez has batted .203/.274/.339. And yes, I know that Inge is on a downhill slide and Alvarez is only 26. I am someone that believes in having a veteran presence in the clubhouse, but I also think there can be too many veterans. I think the Pirates probably should give up on keeping John McDonald around, because right now they have Clint Barmes and McDonald playing shortstop, and they are both awful offensive players with great defense. They need to make room for Triple-A shortstop Jordy Mercer somehow. The Pirates need more offense out of the shortstop position.
I know everyone likes to jump to conclusions and have hard opinions on guys, but I’m someone that likes to see how things play out. Sure, I’ll have an initial opinion on a player like Inge, but I’m not the kind of person that won’t change my mind if he plays terribly. So to wrap it up: Inge is on the roster, Presley was shipped to Triple-A, and Barmes and McDonald are still automatic outs at shortstop while Mercer is rotting in the minor leagues with a batting average over .300.