Smashing return for Tigers’ Kinsler
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Ian Kinsler started and wanted to end his career with the Texas Rangers. Then he unexpectedly got traded to Detroit last winter.
“I obviously remember just growing up here,” Kinsler said before the opener of a three-game series, the Tigers’ only trip to Arlington this season.
“My first big league hit was here at this stadium, my first big league home run was at this stadium. There are a lot of firsts for me, and a lot of accomplishments in this ballpark,” he said.
And now his first game as an opponent at Texas, where he was greeted by more cheers than boos before hitting a home run in the first inning Tuesday night.
After sending a 1-1 pitch from Colby Lewis into the left-field seats, Kinsler did a slight wave with his right hand toward the Rangers dugout. While there appeared to be no reaction from his former team, Kinsler had a smile on his face rounding the bases after his ninth homer of the season.
Texas traded Kinsler to Detroit in a swap of All-Stars, with first baseman Prince Fielder going to the Rangers.
Fielder hit .247 with three home runs in 42 games before neck surgery last month. He had played in 547 consecutive games since 2010 before cervical fusion of the C5 and C6 disks in his neck that most likely will keep him out the rest of the season.
Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said he had no serious talks with Kinsler about returning to Arlington.
“I made a couple of jokes, one-liners. But he’s unflappable,” Ausmus said. “I’m not worried about Kins at all.”
During spring training there were some critical statements attributed to Kinsler in an ESPN The Magazine story about his departure from the Rangers. He was quoted as calling Texas general manager Jon Daniels “a sleazeball” and saying, “I hope they go 0-162.”
Surrounded in the Tigers dugout by mostly media from the Dallas-Fort Worth area before the game, Kinsler chuckled and said he didn’t understand why people didn’t realize it was a joke about the impossibility of the Rangers going winless this season.
But Kinsler said he hasn’t spoken with Daniels since last season, and got no advance word that he was being traded or possibly being dealt to another team.
“Everything that I directed toward the general manager was maybe a little uncalled for,” Kinsler said. “But at that time, that’s the way I was feeling.”
“When I said those things, I probably should have handled it a little differently,” he said. “I’m over it, I’m past it, I moved on. I’m a Detroit Tiger and I’m happy to be where I’m at.”