07/06/2004 7:25 PM ET
Notes: Inge stuck on DL
Utility man's inability to throw preventing return
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Brandon Inge can swing the bat, take ground balls and play catch. He could probably DH Wednesday if he wasn't on the 15-day disabled list. But he can't throw, and until he can, he's not close to coming back.
|As long as Brandon Inge can't throw, he won't be rejoining the Tigers. (Duane Burleson/AP)
"The reason I went to [coaches] and said something is I couldn't control the ball," said Inge, currently on the 15-day DL with a broken right index finger. "If I can't throw, I'm no good to anybody."
As long as he's no good in the field, the Tigers aren't as good either. If he was simply the reserve catcher behind Ivan Rodriguez, the effect would be minimal. But Inge's utility play this season has made him the primary backup at center field and at third base, too, as well as one of the first right-handed hitters off the bench.
"Losing Brandon right now certainly is hurting us," manager Alan Trammell said back in Denver during the series against the Rockies.
That, ironically, is the main reason Trammell put him on the DL, thinking about a worse fate than missing him for two weeks. He's eligible to come off Sunday for the last game before the All-Star break, but Trammell would rather wait and have him back Thursday.
"What has to happen before he plays, he's going to have to get some X-rays," Trammell said. "And then if he goes to Minnesota [this weekend] and takes X-rays, another doctor looks at them. A few extra days are not going to hurt him."
It'll also keep him from trying to rush his way back. Considering that this is the same guy who learned to pop dislocated shoulders back into place a few years ago while bending over to tie his shoes, the Tigers don't want any chance of him playing hurt.
"He says when he takes [the splint] off that he can move it and he doesn't feel anything," Trammell said. "That's a good sign. That's why we DL'ed him, because he would've always been testing it."
Which way for Cornejo? The Tigers' plan for Nate Cornejo during his rehab stint at Triple-A Toledo is to stretch him out as a starter, whether or not that's how they use him once he comes back to Detroit.
It's a conundrum for Trammell. Cornejo had the lowest ERA of any Tigers starter in 2003 but struggled from the outset this season. He had just been bumped to the bullpen when tests revealed inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Cornejo gave up a solo homer among his three hits in two innings Tuesday at Pawtucket, striking out two and walking one. He'll make one more start Sunday at Syracuse.
Pudge honored as top Latin player: Ivan Rodriguez received the 2003 National League Latino MVP award Wednesday afternoon during a ceremony at the Bronx Paradise Café. He earned the honor from the Latino Sports Writers and Broadcasters Association for his success in helping the Florida Marlins to their second World Series championship in seven years.
Giarratano, Vazquez earn minor-league honors: The Tigers named Class A Lakeland shortstop Tony Giarratano and West Michigan right-hander Matt Vasquez their minor league player and pitcher of the month, respectively, for June.
Giarratano, an in-season promotion from West Michigan, hit .438 in June with 15 runs scored, seven doubles, 11 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 23 games. Vasquez went 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA for the Whitecaps with 27 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.