LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -Brandon Inge is upset about his situation with the Detroit Tigers. Manager Jim Leyland is struggling with it, too.
Both are determined to make the best of it.
Inge asked the Tigers to trade him after they acquired third baseman Miguel Cabrera from the Florida Marlins in a blockbuster deal at the winter meetings, relegating Inge to a reserve role.
Inge agreed to a $24 million, four-year contract last winter. He said backing up Cabrera or moving back to catcher and backing up Ivan Rodriguez didn't work well for him.
``As far as right now, I am with the Detroit Tigers,'' Inge said Friday. ``I just want to play every single day. I love this organization and the Detroit Tigers are in my blood, but there's not a starting role for me. I will never be a cancer around this team and I don't plan to be a distraction.''
general manager Dave Dombrowski.
So for now, Inge is working out as a catcher. He caught two bullpen sessions Friday and said his legs were sore afterward. He said he would catch if needed and Leyland might need to keep him around until at least May, when reserve catcher Vance Wilson returns from an injury.
``It's hard,'' Leyland said. ``I want Brandon Inge. I don't want to lose Brandon Inge, but I also do want to lose Brandon Inge for his sake. He's meant a lot to this team and to me.''
The 30-year-old Inge played 469 games at third base the past three seasons. He batted .236 with 14 homers and 71 RBIs last year while Cabrera hit .320 with 34 homers and 119 RBIs with the Marlins.
``I am not expecting to be traded,'' Inge said. ``I will always do everything I can to improve this ballclub. Catching is not my first choice. If I had the choice, I would be the Tigers' third baseman.''
Leyland said he is doing whatever he can to keep Inge happy. He said if he knows another team is scouting Inge, he would be happy to let Inge start at third or catcher during spring training.
Leyland also said he is surprised the team hasn't been able to make a deal.
``Brandon Inge, no offense to anyone on this team, is the best athlete on the team,'' the manager said.
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