PHILADELPHIA -- In just two games, Brandon Inge has already ingratiated himself into the Pirates' clubhouse and manager Clint Hurdle's good graces.
Inge started Tuesday in his first game back from the disabled list and promptly hit an RBI double in a 2-0 win. Then he hit a pinch-hit bases-loaded single Wednesday to give the Pirates the lead in a 5-3 win. Inge is 5-for-12 in his career as a pinch-hitter, but it's something he knows he'll have to learn, especially over the next six games, when he comes primarily off the bench against right-handed starting pitchers.
"He was going to play somewhere," Hurdle said Thursday morning, after penciling in Inge at second base against Phillies starter Cliff Lee, against whom Inge enters hitting .372 (16-for-43) with three home runs and 18 RBIs. "He's going to have some numbers against people that are substantial just because of the time he's played. We'll see how this plays out. You like the matchup, and there should be some type of comfort going in.
"We knew on the back end of the trip there are six right-handed starters. That doesn't eliminate him, but wanted to maximize his time in rehab to make him ready to compete. He's already played two different positions in the infield and today will be a third."
Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.