Charles Brandon Inge (Template:Pron-en Template:Respell; born May 19, 1977 in Lynchburg, Virginia) is a Major League Baseball third baseman currently playing for the Detroit Tigers. He bats and throws right-handed.
Sportswriter Jayson Stark described Inge as a "super-utility dervish." In 2006, his diving stop and subsequent throw from his knees to put out Gary Bennett in an interleague game, on June 25 against the St. Louis Cardinals earned him the ESPN defensive play of the year for a third baseman.
Inge played baseball at Brookville High School in Lynchburg, then attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was a shortstop and relief pitcher. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in Template:By, and currently resides in Saline, Michigan.
Initially assigned as a catcher, Inge struggled offensively in his first three seasons. After the Tigers signed free-agent Iván Rodríguez in Template:By, Inge played in the outfield, catcher and at third base, batting .287 with 13 home runs that season.
He started 159 games at third base in Template:By, and led all AL third basemen in errors (23), assists (378) and double plays (42). In 2006, Inge exceeded his 2005 totals with 398 assists. That number broke the Detroit Tigers single season record for assists by a 3rd baseman (previously 389 by Aurelio Rodriguez in 1974) and was only 14 short of the all time MLB record for assists by a third baseman (set by Graig Nettles in 1971). Only five third basemen (including Graig Nettles, Brooks Robinson, and Mike Schmidt) have collected more assists in a season than Inge.
In 2006, Inge showed power during the first half, with his 17 home runs tying for the team lead. His slugging percentage was .463 and he placed third on the Tigers with 47 RBIs. After the All-Star Break, he raised his season average from .221 to .253 and finished with 27 home runs.
Inge became expendable at third base after the Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera in a blockbuster trade with the Florida Marlins.Template:Citation needed Inge asked management to trade him to a team where he would have a chance to be an everyday player. However, a deal was never made, and the team stated that he would be used as a utility player for the 2008 season.Template:Citation needed Inge reported to spring training early with the pitchers and catchers. He was named the opening day center fielder after Curtis Granderson was placed on the disabled list.
With the absence of backup catcher Vance Wilson, Inge filled this role for the 13-time Gold Glove winner Iván Rodríguez. Inge took over the catching position full time after Rodríguez was traded to the New York Yankees on July 30, 2008.
Inge opened the 2009 season as the starting third baseman for the Tigers. He started the season by successfully reaching base 24 games in a row, the longest such streak for the Tigers since 1976. Through the first half of the 2009 season, Inge led the team in home runs with 21 and was named to the All-Star team.
Having received a record 11.8 million votes in the Final Vote, Inge was selected to his first All Star Game, joining teammates Curtis Granderson, Justin Verlander, and Edwin Jackson on the American League squad. Inge participated in the Home Run Derby and became the eighth player in the history of the Derby to not hit a single home run.
Inge underwent surgery on both of his knees on November 3, 2009. He attended a strengthening and rehabilitation program during the winter. He made a full recovery in time to play midway through spring training, and started at third base on Opening Day of the 2010 season in Kansas City.
On July 19, 2010, Inge was hit on the left hand by a pitch. X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal. Doctors said it would take 4–6 weeks to heal, however he returned two weeks later.
On August 26, 2010, Inge achieved his 1,000th career hit against the Kansas City Royals.
In August 2009, Inge got two tattoos, one on each forearm, on a West Coast road trip. The tattoos are the names of his sons, "Chase" and "Tyler". He debuted the tattoos on August 24, 2009 against the Los Angeles Angels.
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