So Brandon Inge doesn’t want to play catcher and Jim Leyland isn’t going to make him do it.
“It’s obvious he does not want to catch,” Leyland said. “I’m not going to force someone to catch that doesn’t want to catch. He’s made it plain and simple to everybody.”
And Vance Wilson doesn’t sound ready to play catcher at the start of the season, either. Last year, that’s how we came to meet Mike Rabelo, now a catcher for the Marlins after the big trade in December. And now it looks like we might start the season with Dane Sardinha as backup backstop, which could become a higher-profile job with the aging Pudge Rodriguez as starter. So I provide a primer:
- He played for the Mudville Nine! How cool is that?
- He’ll be 29 in April.
- I can’t quite figure out what his actual middle name is past Kealoha, but this web site says his brother Bronson has the middle name Kiheimahanaomauiakeo.
- They’re Hawai’in.
- In AAA, the level he’s spent most of his time at the past three years, he’s been a poor/mediocre batter who doesn’t get on base much or hit for much power. For that matter, he doesn’t like to take a walk and he strikes out nearly 1/4 of the time. Eek. (First Inning.com)
- 2007 fielding highlights: “Topped all International League catchers with 732 putouts. … Threw out 36.1 percent of baserunners attempting to steal(39-for-108), fifth-best among IL catchers.” (MILB.com)
So I don’t have any experience seeing him in person, but this doesn’t exactly sound like an inspiring choice to play back up. Leyland might want to tell Inge as long as he’d being paid by the Tigers, he’ll play whatever Leyland darn well tells him to play, because that sounds like a better option at this point in time. Even if he throws a hissy.