Inge played for both sides of Tigers-A's series
Brandon Inge was part of two division champions this year, starting the season with Detroit and then catching on with Oakland after he was released by the Tigers.
Now those teams are playing each other in the division series -- although Inge is out for the season because of right shoulder injury. He was in the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park on Friday, the day before Game 1.
"It's going to be a fun series, especially for me, just watching both sides," Inge said. "This is like a front-row seat to an unbelievable playoff game."
Inge is one of four players to play for two division winners this year, according to STATS LLC. The others were Travis Blackley (San Francisco and Oakland), Xavier Nady (Washington and San Francisco) and Kurt Suzuki (Oakland and Washington).
Inge was beginning his 12th season with the Tigers when he was released following a 2-for-20 start. He hit .226 with 11 home runs in 74 games for Oakland. He admitted to some odd emotions returning to Detroit.
"Coming here, back to guys that I still consider family, it's going to be a little strange," Inge said.
The Tigers won the AL Central, while the A's took the AL West by beating Texas on the final day of the regular season.
"It's fun to do it, no matter where you are," Inge said. "It was an honor to be able to do it here as many times as we had, and it was just as much fun doing it there. Those fans are crazy there, too. They were appreciative -- I didn't hear one boo the entire year there, nothing. Those fans are incredible there, too."
SERIES DEFENSE?: Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington wasn't in the mood before Friday's AL wild card game against Baltimore to recall any moves that were made -- or maybe not made -- in last year's World Series.
Orioles outfield Endy Chavez, who was with the Rangers last year, told FoxSports.com that he was under the impression that he was going to play right field after he pinch hit for reliever Mike Adams in the top of the ninth inning of Game 6 in St. Louis. After Chavez flied out for the third out and was near first base, the defensive standout said he was called back to the dugout.
Slugger Nelson Cruz stayed in right field, and wasn't able to track down David Freese's two-strike, two-out, two-run triple that tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. The Rangers were again within a strike of winning the game an inning later, before losing in the 11th -- and then losing Game 7 in St. Louis.
Asked Friday about the claim by Chavez, Washington responded, "I don't remember anything like that."
When pressed for clarification if there was ever any intention of Chavez staying in the game after pinch hitting, Washington said, "I can't reflect back that far right now. ... I'm thinking about the game today."
Chavez said he never asked for an explanation of what happened, but that he was surprised.
"I know something for sure: I didn't sleep that night, just thinking about it," he told FoxSports.com.
HERE AND GONE: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez allowed players who didn't make the 25-man roster to be in uniform in the dugout. Such players as pitchers Peter Moylan, Tommy Hanson and Cristhian Martinez and infielder Juan Francisco remained with the team even though they are not active.
Gonzalez mentioned Francisco as an example of a player who could be on the team roster in a full playoff series. Outfielder Matt Diaz, who has been out since July 20 with a right thumb injury, also was back with the team.
"We want all the guys that were part of this during the course of the season to be around," Gonzalez said, adding he wasn't sure if inactive players would remain in uniform beyond the wild-card game.
"But as far as right now they're in the dugout or in the bullpen," Gonzalez said.
All the players with the team, even those not on the active roster, were part of the pregame introductions.
Some players didn't stick around.
Gonzalez said right-hander Ben Sheets, who is retiring after pitching one scoreless inning in the final regular-season win over Pittsburgh, decided to return to his family.
GIANTS LINEUP: San Francisco's lineup will look awfully familiar for Game 1 of the division series Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Manager Bruce Bochy didn't stray from what worked so well down the stretch. Backing ace starter Matt Cain will be center fielder Angel Pagan, second baseman Marco Scutaro, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, right fielder Hunter Pence, first baseman Brandon Belt, left fielder Gregor Blanco and shortstop Brandon Crawford.
Bochy chose Blanco over Nady, who Bochy is happy to have as a bat off the bench or a late-innings defensive replacement.
Blanco found out from his manager during batting practice.
"This is the best thing that's happened to me. It's going to be great," Blanco said. "I'm going to enjoy it for sure and do the best I can to help the team win the first game. It's going to be a huge game for us tomorrow and I know we're going to have a lot of fun."
FIRSTS: Mike Matheny is the Cardinals first rookie manager to reach the postseason since Eddie Dyer in 1946. The Cardinals won the World Series that year.
Tony La Russa was the last St. Louis manager to lead the team to the playoffs in his first season with the team.
Gonzalez, completing his sixth season as a major league manager, including four seasons with Florida, also is in his first postseason as a manager.
ROOKIE STARTER: Pete Kozma is the first rookie starting shortstop in the postseason since Boston's Jed Lowrie in 2008. ... Rafael Furcal, on the St. Louis disabled list with a right elbow injury, started as a rookie shortstop for the Braves in the 2000 playoffs.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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