DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday he was looking for different combinations and more offense when he decided to sit Brandon Inge for Don Kelly. On Wednesday, that trend continued. Don Kelly started at third base and batted second for a second straight day. Inge was out of the lineup.
The move is not believed to be health related. Though Inge had been dealing with headaches and soreness as a result of a virus last week, he said Monday he was starting to feel better.
"I'm looking to try to find some more combinations, keep guys sharp by playing them, and find some combinations to get a little more offense," Leyland said Tuesday.
So far this season, left-handed hitters have been a good combination against Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine, batting 17-for-46 (.370) off him this season, compared to a .220 average (11-for-50) from right-handed batters.
That doesn't necessarily mean anything longer-term at third base for the Tigers. But it could provide an interesting scenario this weekend against the Red Sox, who are scheduled to start right-handed pitchers every day of the four-game series.
Inge has always had wild swings in his batting average, but his .208 mark entering Wednesday is his lowest at this point in a season since 2003, when he was still a catcher. He's batting .190 (23-for-121) over his last 38 games, though he had a decent five-game stretch last week, going 5-for-19.