OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Third baseman Brandon Inge hopes to be back with the Oakland Athletics in 2013 after shoulder surgery.
Inge will have season-ending surgery on his dislocated right shoulder in about a week after re-injuring it Saturday night against Boston. He plans to see Dr. Stephen Lemos in Michigan for the procedure after Lemos also operated on his knees. Until then, Inge will be available to pinch-hit off the bench. The shoulder doesn't hurt him batting, but he is "in excruciating pain" when throwing.
"If I hadn't been through it with my left shoulder exactly the same way as this one, I wouldn't know, but I had a great idea on what this one was," Inge said Sunday. "Once it comes out once, you may be safe and it might never come out again, but once it comes out twice, three times, four times, you're in trouble. The only saving grace I had is it didn't come out swinging and I didn't feel it swinging."
Inge estimates he has dislocated his shoulders at least 20 times, the right side now on four occasions. He plans to rejoin the A's to rehab with the team post-operation — he's having too much fun watching the AL wild-card leaders to stay away.
"It wouldn't have been fair to try to tough out something that I know was a losing battle. I already had it in my mind what was going on," Inge said.
Inge spoke with manager Bob Melvin and told him he would do whatever he could to help the rest of the way, even if it's not on the field.
"It's a loss when he has the surgery. For now, until he has it, he's still an option to pinch-hit off the bench," Melvin said. "I think he's kind of discussing timing and so forth, if and when he does have it."
Inge hopes that as teams consider him for next season — he expects to be ready to go by the start of spring training — they will take into account the "heart" he brings to both the clubhouse and the lineup. He definitely made an impression in the East Bay with Oakland.
Inge is batting .218 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs in 83 games, 74 since joining the A's on April 30 after the Tigers cut him. He was acquired to help fill a big void after Oakland lost Scott Sizemore at the start of spring training to a season-ending knee injury that required surgery.
"Hitting has been a whole different creature," he said. "Ever since I did it in Chicago, every time I've made a throw it has been excruciating pain. Anyone who's ever had a shoulder come out of socket knows that it's not fun. And also with a compromising position with your arm any time whenever you get your hands above your head and arms extended, when we throw a baseball that's what we do every single time — so it's the uncertainty of every time you throw a ball that your shoulder's going to come out again. That's not only the pain, but the uncertainty."
Inge praised Melvin for his managerial style and communication with players.
"Everybody knows their role," Inge said. "And I've had managers in the past who weren't very good at communicating."
While Inge would be eager to commit now to playing for the A's next season, he knows that will be a process over the coming months for each side if it's going to happen.
"I really have no clue. That's something that's going to play out this offseason," Inge said. "I'd play for him any day. That's going to be based on my health, too, and that's why I'm doing it right now because I know I'll be ready by spring training. Obviously, I'd love to come back here. I've had the best time, the best year here."