Inge gets brief stint at shortstop

Inge gets brief stint at shortstop

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Brandon Inge's first start at shortstop ended up being a cameo appearance.

He had the rains to thank for that, not his play.

His next step in his shift to utility work, a return to the position he played in high school and college, lasted all of one inning before Friday's game against the Astros was rained out. Still, it was the thought that counted.

"Every now and then, you've pinch-hit a guy and you've got to leave him in a game," manager Jim Leyland said beforehand. "I just want to see what he looks like out there. He played there in college.

"I'll give the people up there something to talk about, give you guys [in the media] something to talk about."

Inge had all of one play to make in this start, a hard-hit ground ball from Hunter Pence that made its way through a muddy infield, past Inge and into left-center field. The rainy surface was not the best of conditions for footwork.

In terms of instincts, though, Inge felt comfortable.

"It's not too bad," he said. "A lot of things that you've had molded at third base take over. Everything in the infield is OK ground ball-wise. ... It's just like any other position. It all comes in time, and it'll eventually come back. It's just like [Thursday], catching felt fine."

In time, just about every position might come to Inge before Spring Training ends or before he's traded, if that happens. He had played third base, catcher, center field and the corner outfield spots this spring before adding shortstop on Friday. Second base would be the one position left, since Leyland has said he won't use Inge at first base.

"I want to play wherever I can, the most playing time as possible. Period," Inge said. "Whatever it takes."

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.