The award, given annually to a player from each team, recognizes those who demonstrate a passion for baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. One of the 30 team winners will be chosen as the national Heart and Hustle Award recipient, decided by votes from more than 3,000 members of the MLB Players Alumni Association.
In Inge's case, the award became particularly fitting recently while he tries to play through lingering tendinitis in his left knee. He has insisted that he will play through it rather than spend time on the disabled list, and he has reported improvement recently.
After spending much of last season as a utility player, then converting to his original position at catcher, Inge returned to third base at the end of last season and became the everyday starter at the hot corner again. Inge made an adjustment to his swing and responded with a power surge at the plate in what has ended up being an All-Star season with his selection by the fans to the team as the American League's Final Vote winner.
Inge entered Friday batting .238 with 24 home runs and 67 RBIs. Defensively, his 107 putouts lead all Major League third basemen, while his 34 double plays ranked second. His 14 errors led his AL colleagues at the hot corner.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less