His right shoulder dislocated just minutes before, the A's third baseman stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on first and third in the third inning of Saturday's contest against Boston, knowing what everyone in the stands didn't: his season was over after this at-bat.
With that in mind, Inge laced a two-run double to right field as part of a four-run frame of Oakland's 7-1 victory. But after the game, the veteran said he'll undergo season-ending surgery in a week or two.
The surgery calls for a typical recovery time of six months, though in a very Inge-like manner, he said with a smile, "I'll be back quicker." Inge has already endured the same procedure on his left shoulder.
"I'm OK. I gave it my best shot," he said. "I knew it was going to be rough coming into this, and I probably didn't tell them how bad it hurt. It was killing me every time I threw the ball, but I just wanted to make sure, in a year like this, I didn't leave anything on the table.
"I know that I can be at peace with myself knowing I literally gave everything I had to offer to this team, and I'm happy with that. I'm pretty sure there are not too many people who would even try to go through what I've been going through since I did it."
Inge initially dislocated his right shoulder Aug. 12 in Chicago and hit the disabled list soon after, before claiming himself ready to go when he was activated from the disabled list prior to Saturday's game. Josh Donaldson, who nicely filled in for the veteran in his absence, figures to continue garnering the majority of playing time at third base moving forward.
Hitting never proved to be an issue for Inge. It was throwing that caused him discomfort, and it took just one throw in the top of the third inning to pop his shoulder out of place again. Adam Rosales shifted from second base to third base in Inge's stead in the fourth inning, with Cliff Pennington entering the game at second.
"He knows he's coming out of the game and he said, 'I can hit,' and to go out there and double knowing it's probably going to be his last at-bat for awhile ... pretty cool," manager Bob Melvin said.
Melvin met with Inge after the game, and the latter made his case as an option off the bench in the coming week before he undergoes surgery.
"I said, 'Realistically, how much are you really going to need me as a designated hitter or a pinch-hitter?'" Inge said. "My value, most of the time, has been defensively. I'll hit a time or two and get some timely hits in RBI situations.
"I know we have plenty guys, but I just wanted to let him know the option is there. I would do anything for him. I would take a bullet for him."
Inge has 52 RBIs in 74 games with the A's, and his presence has meant more to the contending team than what's seen on a stat sheet. He's a go-to guy in an otherwise youthful clubhouse, which is why the 35-year-old hopes to remain with the team after his surgery.
"I want to come back right away, dress with the team, travel with the team, because in this clubhouse I feel like I can still make an impact no matter what," he said. "I'll keep the boys loose, that's for sure."
"I think that's huge," teammate Brandon Hicks said. "It'd be awesome for him to stick around, just to have that presence."