Michigan baseball set to add ex-Tiger Brandon Inge to staff

Detroit News

Tony Paul
 
| The Detroit News

Former Detroit Tiger Brandon Inge is about to make the jump into the college coaching ranks, and will join Michigan as a volunteer assistant.

Inge and Steve Merriman, Michigan’s pitching coach twice previously who is taking the job again, will be officially introduced as staff members by the end of the week, according to two sources familiar with the imminent hirings.

Division I college baseball staffs are allowed a head coach, two paid assistants and a volunteer coach.

These hirings round out head coach Erik Bakich’s staff, after he lost pitching coach Chris Fetter to the same job with the Tigers in November.

Inge, 42, played 13 seasons in the major leagues, mostly as a third baseman and catcher for the Tigers. He retired after the 2013 season and moved back to Michigan in 2018 to join the staff at Legacy Center Sports Complex in Brighton. He also joined the coaching staff at Detroit Country Day, where son Tyler is a freshman and where son Chase is a seventh-grader. Inge was entering his third season at Country Day.

Merriman, 53, comes to Michigan from the Colorado Rockies’ organization, where his affinity for data and technology made him a popular figure within the system. This will be his fourth stint at Michigan. He was a hitting coach in 1995 under then-coach and former Tigers great Bill Freehan, and then pitching coach at Michigan in 2002 and 2012. He’s held many jobs in pro ball, including bullpen catcher for the Tigers from 1996-99. Merriman is an alum of Central Michigan.

Bakich’s staff also includes hitting/infielders coach Nick Schnabel, who’s been at Michigan since 2013.

The Wolverines have emerged as one of the elite programs in the Midwest, finishing second in the nation in 2019 before much of 2020 was wiped out due to COVID-19. Michigan was ranked 19th by Baseball America in June, and has had at least one player taken in each of the last eight Major League Baseball drafts — including four this past summer, when the draft was cut to just five rounds.

A pipeline from Michigan to the pros, and vice versa, has also developed in the coaching ranks recent years. Michigan has lost five assistants to professional ball since 2018, including Fetter, Aaron Etchison (Cleveland Indians), Michael Brdar (San Francisco Giants), Ryan Chipka (New York Yankees) and Ako Thomas (Boston Red Sox).

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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