Brandon Inge definitely on A’s radar; Michael Taylor is with team, probably won’t join roster

Checking in from Camden Yards, as the A’s begin a three-game series with the Orioles, who find themselves tied atop the American League East.

–I’m hearing that there’s substance to speculation that the A’s might sign third baseman Brandon Inge, who was released by Detroit on Thursday. Inge can’t sign with a team until he clears release waivers, and that won’t likely happen until after the weekend. But teams are allowed to have dialogue with him before that time. The Orioles and Twins have also been linked to Inge, but the A’s need help at third base as much as anybody, and I’m told they have legitimate interest. That’s no guarantee they will sign him, and lots can happen over the next few days. General manager Billy Beane would not comment on Inge specifically.

“Until we get satisfactory production, we will always be looking to upgrade at third base, as well as all other positions,” Beane said via e-mail.

There’s a chance a team could claim Inge on waivers (meaning they assume his $5.5 million salary for this season). But if he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and can sign with any team. At that point, the signing team is only responsible for the pro-rated portion of the major league minimum salary, so there’s motivation for teams to wait until he clears waivers.

–Outfielder Michael Taylor is here with the A’s, but it’s looking like that was a precautionary move. Coco Crisp, who has missed seven of the past eight games with an inner ear infection, is feeling better and is slated to start in left field. A’s manager Bob Melvin said if Crisp comes out of this game fine, Taylor will head back to Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. So there’s been no roster move involving Taylor to this point. He participated in pregame activity, but he can’t be in the dugout during the game unless he’s added to the roster. The A’s have been impressed with Taylor’s play at Sacramento, where he’s hit .366 with two homers, 17 RBIs and 11 doubles in 19 games. The fact that Taylor accompanied the team to Baltimore “shows how we feel about him right now,” Melvin said.

It’s a rather awkward situation for Taylor to be in, as he took batting practice but likely won’t join the team. But he was happy to make the cross-country trip regardless. “They could have told me to (take a) train out here, and I’d have taken Amtrak,” he said. “Anytime there’s an inkling of an opportunity, I’m excited.”

–Luke Hughes was scratched at third base about an hour before batting practice and replaced by Eric Sogard. Hughes still has a slight fever and is taking medication to stay hydrated. He said he still feels “a little spaced out.”

–Reliever Rich Thompson cleared waivers and was sent to Sacramento.

Tonight’s lineups:
A’s – Weeks 2B, Crisp LF, Reddick RF, Cespedes CF, Ka’aihue 1B, Smith DH, Suzuki C, Sogard 3B, Pennington SS; McCarthy RHP.

Orioles – Reimold LF, Hardy SS, Markakis RF, Jones CF, Wieters C, Davis 1B, Reynolds DH, Flaherty 3B, Andino 2B; Arrieta RHP.

Joe Stiglich