Jim Leyland said today that Brandon Inge is going to split time at catcher with Pudge Rodriguez with each playing every other day. The Tigers manager wants to give more rest to the 36 year old Rodriguez, who has caught 51 of the first 62 games. He also wants to see if Inge can catch.
Pudge is batting .245/.286/.349 and isn't the elite defensive catcher he once was. Inge is not exactly tearing it up either but his .228/.324/.425 line is superior to Rodriguez. I don't think they lose that much defensively with Inge either. One question is how well he can hit as a catcher as that has been a problem for him in the past. Leyland wouldn't admit to it, but with Pudge on the decline and his contract coming to and end, this could be a signal they plan to use Inge at catcher in 2009.
Of course, we need to remember that Leyland's plans have been changing every few days. A couple weeks ago, Marcus Thames was going to be the regular left fielder. Last week, Inge was going to see more time at third base with Carlos Guillen playing some left field. So this could be just Leyland's thought of the day. We'll see what happens.