Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit
By STEVE KORNACKI  |  Last updated 4/12/14
Ian Kinsler has accomplished plenty in eight major-league seasons. He made three All-Star teams; hit .311 in 34 postseason games for the Texas Rangers; and twice achieved 30-30 status in homers and steals in one season. The new Detroit Tigers second baseman has plenty to be proud of, so I asked him what about his career gives him the most satisfaction. Kinsler, while sitting on his clubhouse stool, paused for several seconds before coming up with the answer. "I'd like to say, I've been a good teammate," Kinsler said. "That's so important to me. We spend a lot of time together with the same people, and that time should be as easy as possible and as fun as possible. "So I hope I've been a good teammate. You can ask them if I have been." New Tigers closer Joe Nathan was his teammate the last two years in Texas. "Ian is a competitor," Nathan said. "He loves to compete and he loves to win. But he also really cares about the other guys on the squad. That makes Ian a very, very good teammate. He's already fit right in." Little scenes from the Detroit clubhouse reflect his love of the game and care for his teammates: --- When Kinsler saw shortstop Jose Iglesias with his head down -- depressed about the stress fractures to his shins that will end up costing him at least four months of playing time -- Kinsler approached him and placed an arm around Iglesias before whispering encouragement in his ear. Then Kinsler softly tapped Iglesias on the chest and walked away. --- When veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez was spending his first game day with the Tigers at Comerica Park, Kinsler was the teammate having lunch with him. --- As batting-practice time approached for a game with the Baltimore Orioles, Kinsler sat on the comfy leather couches in the clubhouse with teammates Alex Avila and Austin Jackson. They watched replays of separate American League games on two big-screen televisions, and Kinsler was animated in pointing out plays in both games. Talking the game and making teammates feel comfortable and better about themselves is important to having success over 162 games and beyond. Kinsler, 31, is the kind of player who assures that. He's also a productive, clutch player. Kinsler was batting .313 and leading the Tigers with six runs while sharing the lead with 10 hits headed into Friday night's game at San Diego. The leadoff hitter also has one homer and three RBIs, and has been a sparkplug for a team off to a 5-2 start. His leadoff double in the ninth inning off Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen on Tuesday night set the stage for Victor Martinez's game-tying single. Kinsler also stole two bases on Wednesday to reach third base and score on a sacrifice fly by Martinez. "I try to do whatever it takes to help my team win," Kinsler said. "This year is about scoring runs. The more I score, the happier I will be." Kinsler has scored 100-plus runs in four of the five seasons in which he reached 500 at-bats, and was second in the American League with 121 runs in 2011. "I worked on my speed and quickness all winter," said Kinsler, who is from Arizona and resides in Dallas with his wife and two children. "I want to be a real threat on the bases. I did a lot more running. I did a lot more sprinting. I did acceleration drills to work on my starts." Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Kinsler could end up being this team's best base runner, noting that Kinsler "knows when to take the extra base" and has superior instincts. Kinsler also is adept at keeping innings going. He was the third-toughest batter in the American League to strike out in 2013, with one every 10.4 at-bats. And only five hitters were less likely to hit into a double play than Kinsler, who did so once every 109 at-bats last year. While it was Prince Fielder's job to knock in runs, Kinsler's is to score them. Detroit traded Fielder for Kinsler on Nov. 20, and it could end up being a good deal for both teams. Kinsler made headlines during spring training when he criticized Rangers general manager Jon Daniels for a number of things: not informing Kinsler of the trade before it was reported in the media; trading Michael Young; and forcing Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan out of the organization. Kinsler also said he hoped the Rangers would go 0-162 this season. "Daniels is a sleazeball," Kinsler reportedly told ESPN The Magazine. "He got in good with the owners and straight pushed Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It's just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody's ego got huge, except for Nolan's." Kinsler went to the World Series twice with Texas, losing both times. "The ultimate goal in team sports is to win the championship, the World Series," Kinsler told me. "That's still something I haven't checked off my list." He thinks he can do that with the Tigers, and enjoys the personalities and clubhouse atmosphere with Detroit. "It's refreshing," Kinsler said. "It's a new start with new teammates. I like it here a lot."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Mavs leaning toward two-year deal for Nowitzki

Vikings say they encouraged Floyd to drink kombucha tea

Report: LeBron James not planning to leave Cavs

Cam Newton reveals the one thing his life is missing

George denies he is already moving out of Indiana home

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ezekiel Elliott cracks great joke about Dirk's running style

Riddick refutes report he will interview for Chiefs GM job

Report: Rockets have 'serious chance' at landing Chris Paul

MotoGP qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix saw three frightening crashes Saturday

Report: Knicks attempted to move Joakim Noah with Kristaps Porzingis

Hornets GM mistakenly introduces Dwayne Bacon as Dwyane Wade

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker