Former Detroit Tiger Brandon Inge joins Michigan baseball’s coaching staff

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
 
| Detroit Free Press

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The University of Michigan baseball team is adding a familiar face within the state to its coaching staff for the 2021 season. Former Detroit Tigers infielder Brandon Inge recently accepted a position as a volunteer coach.

Inge’s wife, Shani, told the Free Press on Monday of the 13-year MLB veteran’s decision to join the Wolverines. The 43-year-old spent 12 seasons with the Tigers (2001-12) as a third baseman and catcher.

U-M baseball isn’t expected to make Inge’s hire official until later this week or early next week. Head coach Erik Bakich will reportedly announce Steve Merriman as the team’s pitching coach to replace Chris Fetter, who departed after three seasons to become the Tigers’ pitching coach under new manager A.J. Hinch.

[ What makes Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter the perfect hire ]

Inge spent the last two years as the director of player development for Detroit Country Day’s baseball program. Since 2018, he has been on staff at Legacy Center Sports Complex in Brighton. 

He retired from MLB after competing in 50 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013. He played 74 games for the Oakland Athletics in 2012 after the Tigers released him that April.

But Inge will always be remembered as a Tiger.

Selected by Detroit in the second round of the 1998 draft from VCU, Inge made his debut in April 2001 and played 1,408 games (of his 1,532 career games) for the Tigers. He hit .234 with 140 home runs and 589 RBIs.

From 2016: Former Tiger, fan favorite Brandon Inge honored by big crowd turnout

He went 19-for-66 (.288) in 23 postseason games and helped the Tigers reach the 2006 World Series. In his career, he took the field for 1,083 games at third base, 376 at catcher and 47 in the outfield.

Inge was nominated to the All-Star Game in 2009 after hitting .268 with 21 homers and 58 RBIs in the first half of the season. He ended the year with a .230 batting average and 27 home runs.

Merriman, 53, will begin his fourth stint with Michigan’s baseball program. He was the team’s hitting coach in 1995 and the pitching coach in 2002 and 2012.

[ Tigers’ new pitching coach Chris Fetter’s formula: ‘Highlight strengths’ ]

He served in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system for two seasons prior to rejoining the Wolverines. Also, he was a bullpen catcher for the Tigers from 1996-99 and, besides the Rockies and Tigers, has worked for the New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs in a variety of roles.

Merriman graduated from Central Michigan in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He earned his master’s degree in sport administration from Wayne State in 1997.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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