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04/12/08 9:25 PM ET
Inglett aiming to show he belongs
Infielder trying to shed label of being only a utility player
By Ken Daley / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Joe Inglett is no stranger to the Major Leagues. He's just not as well-acquainted as he would like. Inglett arrived on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to find his name in the starting lineup against Texas. It was an immediate opportunity for the 29-year-old utility man to begin impressing manager John Gibbons and perhaps convince the front office that the "utility" label doesn't apply. "Absolutely," Inglett said. "It's an opportunity, and I'm hoping to shine on it." With starting third baseman Scott Rolen (broken finger) still sidelined indefinitely, the Jays have been using veteran utility man Marco Scutaro at third. He started the team's first 10 games at the position, but a 2-for-21 skid over the past six games sunk Scutaro's average to .156 and forced the Jays to consider other options. Inglett, a left-handed hitter with a career .291 average in 66 Major League games (64 with Cleveland in 2006), got the call. Though he played mostly second base and the outfield at Triple-A Syracuse, Inglett did get some Spring Training work at third base. The fact that he was batting a robust .385 for the Chiefs earned him the call. "He'll give us some left-handed offense at third," Gibbons said. "He also lets us give Scutaro a breather." Gibbons wouldn't say Scutaro has been overexposed as an everyday player. But a right-handed third baseman in the American League generally needs to produce more than Scutaro's .219 slugging percentage. "He's a good hitter," Gibbons said of Scutaro, who had one extra-base hit and two RBIs through his first 32 at-bats. "It's just not happening for him right at the moment." Inglett, 29, played mostly second base during his extended time up with the Indians two years ago, but said adjusting to third would not pose a problem. "Not really," he said. "I just need to go out and do my job. I'm very excited. There's no better place to be than in the big leagues. "I just need to play like I belong here."
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.