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Pirates designate Inge for assignment, activate Walker

| Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 6:54 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Brandon Inge knows he has been unproductive all season off the Pirates' bench. A few days ago, he told management that if he was too much of a drag on the team, it probably would be better for him to be released.

“I told them, ‘If you really think I'm not good enough anymore and you can find someone to help you, go for it,' ” Inge said. “If they weren't going to use me, I wouldn't be happy anyway. I love being around the guys, but I love playing more than anything.”

On Tuesday, second baseman Neil Walker was activated off the disabled list and Inge, a 13-year veteran, was designated for assignment. The Pirates have 10 days to trade Inge, release him or get him through waivers.

“It's not for lack of effort by Inge,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We just need more on the field.”

Inge, 36, played in 50 games and batted .181 with one home run and seven RBI. He never adjusted to the role of a bench player.

“For whatever reasons — probably good reasons, meaning everyone else was producing — my at-bats were insignificant,” Inge said. “There were times I went a week and a half without seeing the field, and that's tough to do.”

Before Walker's injury, Jordy Mercer had deposed Clint Barmes as the everyday shortstop. While Walker was out, Mercer made nine straight starts at second base.

Barmes has hit well lately, reaching base in 12 of his past 13 games and going 11 for 36 (.306) with three doubles. Hurdle indicated Barmes might be in line for more playing time.

“I'm not going to say Barmy's our shortstop or Jordy's our shortstop,” Hurdle said. “Barmes has been as good offensively the past two weeks as he's been all season. Jordy's doing things that can help us win. There could be a matchup or two that plays itself out. We could look at things differently when a left-handed pitcher takes the mound, how we might attack it. So stay tuned.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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