Inge pleased with progress at plate
Third baseman feels good after homering off Halladay
TORONTO -- The word on Brandon Inge's adjustments at the plate is about to get out.
Inge still isn't sure what kind of pitch he hit off of Roy Halladay for his two-run homer Monday night. He was in "see-ball, hit-ball" mode. Still, there were plenty of people who were impressed that Inge hit that ball the way he did, lining it to right field instead of trying futilely to pull it.
One of them was Halladay.
"I think it was kind of a combination," Halladay told reporters after the game. "The ball was up a little bit, but I think he changed his approach a little bit. He's mostly a pull guy, and he took the ball and drove it the other way. Obviously, it was up and that helps."
Another person who was impressed was Inge himself.
"That was awesome," said Inge. "That was a good feeling last night. That was something that let me know we're on the right track."
Inge was 2-for-21 for his career off Halladay entering that game. He'd only struck out twice, but he rarely made quality contact off of the Jays' ace, grounding out 14 times. Both of Inge's hits, however, were opposite-field, line-drive singles.
That was before Inge changed his approach at the plate this past offseason, raising his hands so he could get to pitches on the inside part of the plate. However, he also feels like the tweak helps him get to the outer half of the strike zone quicker, including the cutter that Halladay tried to throw past him.
"If I do it right, I can hit inside and outside," Inge said. "I can adjust easy, because of my hands."
All 11 of Inge's home runs last year went to left or center field, according to baseball-reference.com. Only one of his 14 home runs in 2007 went out to right, compared with four of his 27 in 2006.
Leyland, too, is taking it as a sign of encouragement and a reminder for Inge to keep working with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.
"I think that means you're staying on the ball and you put a good swing on the ball," Leyland said. "Once he gets to the ballpark, I think he has to hang on to Lloyd McClendon's right arm."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.