The groin injury that has brought Brandon Inge to the Triple-A River Cats for rehab the past couple of days, he said, "couldn't have been at a worse time."
Not simply, Inge explained, because he was on an offensive tear with the A's before the injury, having hit four home runs with 16 RBIs in six games before landing on the disabled list May 13.
"It's just missing time," Inge said before the River Cats' 10-0 win over the Reno Aces on Saturday. "I don't like missing time. I can't wait to get back in there."
He might not be waiting long. A's manager Bob Melvin recently told reporters in Oakland that he hopes the third baseman can rejoin the A's today and travel with the team to Minnesota. Inge is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday.
Saturday, Inge said the groin, which he pulled trying to beat out an infield hit, was feeling "much better."
Then he hit safely in his first five at-bats against the Aces, including a solo home run in the first inning, a grand slam in the sixth and a two-run single in the seventh. He also doubled twice.
Likely they have missed his bat in Oakland, where Inge was one of a few players producing at the plate after the A's signed him April 30.
Four days earlier, Inge had been released by the Detroit Tigers, the only team the 35-year-old had known in his 12 big-league seasons. At the time, he was 2 for 20 and not playing every day, so the move didn't come as a big surprise, he said.
"I knew what my role was going to be there," Inge said. "I wasn't very happy with it as far as just playing every once in a while, so there wasn't too much of a shock as far as leaving there. Friends and family, that's the one thing (that was difficult about being released)."
Acclimating himself to the easygoing A's clubhouse, he said, "didn't take long."
Infielder Eric Sogard, whom the A's optioned to the River Cats on May 22, agreed that it was a fast connection.
"I feel like it could be tough for somebody to make that move, but it seemed like he did it well," Sogard said. "We took him in quickly.
"He's very outgoing, very friendly, likes to joke around and have fun."
For comfort's sake, Inge said, it helped he was reunited with Melvin, who served on the Tigers' coaching staff 12 years ago. He met A's general manager Billy Beane for the first time in the A's weight room, where they talked for 15 minutes.
"I wouldn't have known he was front-office management if he didn't introduce himself to me that way," Inge said. "I liked his style."
A career .234 hitter and versatile defender, Inge was an All-Star in 2009 when he hit 27 home runs for the Tigers and played in 161 games.
But his power numbers declined over the next two seasons, and he batted .197 in 102 games last season.
Detroit then made one of the biggest splashes of last offseason by signing free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder to a reported nine-year, $214 million deal, which shifted fellow slugger Miguel Cabrera to third base.
From those Tigers, Inge now finds himself a member of the notoriously low-budget A's.
"I don't care if you're a low-value team or a high-value team," Inge said, "you're still expected to win ballgames.
"Here, I'm noticing it's blue collar. I like it. That's my kind of baseball. Hustle hard, run everything out, play nine innings as hard as you can."