March 14, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge (15) against the New York Mets during a spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Detroit Tigers infielder Brandon Inge is headed to the 15-day DL with a strained groin. The DL stint is backdated so Inge will be eligible to return on April 14. Inge told Jason Beck of MLB.com he expects to be ready by then.
Miguel Cabrera's move to third base this winter forced Inge to second, where he spent the spring competing with Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago for the starting job. As has often been the case with Inge, his defense was spectacular but he struggled at the plate, hitting .180 in 50 plate appearances.
The Tigers had a difficult decision to make with their longest-tenured player. Now that decision is pushed back a few weeks. The Tigers could easily send Inge to triple-A when he comes off the DL, as it's unlikely another team will pick up a utility infielder with a $5.5MM salary for 2012. The Tigers will carry Raburn and Santiago to open the season, as well as infielder Danny Worth.