When Inge returns, role will be the same

When Inge returns, role will be the same

DETROIT -- Although no date is officially set, Brandon Inge could return to the lineup on Saturday, as soon as he is eligible to come off the disabled list.

Inge was placed on the 15-day DL on April 3 with a strained left groin. He is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, where he played nine innings at second base on Thursday night and went 0-for-3 with two walks. Overall, he is 1-for-9 with three walk, a run scored and a hit-by-pitch.

Inge told the Toledo Blade after Thursday's game that he will rejoin the Tigers in Chicago beginning Friday.

Inge hasn't exactly been lighting it up at the plate -- he hit .180 in Spring Training -- but manager Jim Leyland maintains his stance on his infielder.

"He's going to play second base against the left-handed pitching and, depending on what happens, maybe play a game at third base once in a while to give Miguel [Cabrera] a break," Leyland said.

Inge, who hit .245 against left-handers last season, was designated for assignment on July 20, 2011, to make room for Wilson Betemit, who was acquired in a trade with the Royals. After a month with the Mud Hens, he returned to the Tigers and finished the season with a .197 average.

With the Tigers signing Prince Fielder and Cabrera moving to third base, Inge requested a chance to compete at second base and won a job platooning with Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago.