Designated with Walker back, Inge draws praise

Designated with Walker back, Inge draws praise

Designated with Walker back, Inge draws praise

WASHINGTON -- Baseball players with a winner's DNA are often credited with "doing those little things that do not show up in the box score."

Brandon Inge's entire Pittsburgh stay was like that. The veteran infielder was designated for assignment on Tuesday -- creating a roster spot for Neil Walker's return from the disabled list -- but his influence was far more pronounced than his stat line.

"He was here for the time he needed to be here," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He did everything we asked him to do, and he added value in specific areas. We just needed more on the field."

Inge batted .181 while filling in at various positions for 50 games, but his most prevalent recent role was one to which he couldn't adapt: Coming off the bench, for infrequent pinch-hitting appearances. He went 3-for-21 as a pinch-hitter, with eight strikeouts.

"It wasn't for lack of effort, or a lack of understanding the role [of a part-time player]. But he's a guy who has played five-plus times a week, and it got to the point I couldn't promise him any more opportunities," Hurdle said.

Inge was in the middle of the Pirates clubhouse Tuesday afternoon, dressed in street clothes, chatting up his now former teammates. Characteristically, he had asked for the opportunity to say his goodbyes in person.

"I've been with guys who just wanted to go [when released], but he wanted to come in. So he's out there touching them up one more time," Hurdle said. "We'll be better for the time he did spend here."

"I'm sorry my part of it didn't work out," Inge said. "But you've got a good group here. They're going to do good things."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.