Umpire: Tigers' Kinsler ejected over broken bat toss
Detroit – The trouble started when home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez called a strike on a low 2-0 pitch to Ian Kinsler in the third inning.
The Tigers were down 1-0 at the time and had runners on first and second with one out.
"I didn't say anything to him," Kinsler said. "He came after me telling me about the new rules and you've got to be in the box. I told him, 'I know the rules and if they want to fine me they can fine me. Whatever. I'll get in the box when I'm ready.'"
Kinsler flew out to center field on the next pitch. He slammed his bat to the ground, breaking it in two pieces. As he was running to first, he turned and threw the bat handle toward the plate, in the direction of Gonzalez.
Kinsler was ejected before he got half-way to first base.
"The ejection was because of the bat," said crew chief Fieldin Culbreth, who answered questions from a pool reporter on Gonzalez's behalf. "Kinsler slammed the bat on the ground, breaking it, and then he threw the rest of the bat in Manny's direction. That was when he was ejected."
Kinsler was not immediate aware that he was ejected and headed back to the dugout.
"Obviously, I thought it was a big moment in the game and I was upset," Kinsler said. "I broke my bat and threw it. He must have thought I threw it at him. I don't know how he thought that. I threw it at the ground. That was it."
Asked if Gonzalez thought the bat was thrown intentionally at him, Culbreth said, "Well, it certainly came back in his direction."
Once Kinsler understood he'd been ejected, he went after Gonzalez. Manager Brad Ausmus did a good job to restrain him, avoiding a possible suspension.
"I have my questions as to whether he should've been thrown out, really," Ausmus said. "Maybe you get an equipment fine because you threw your bat. But he was clearly frustrated that he flew out to center in that situation. In my mind, he really shouldn't have been thrown out."
It was Kinsler's eighth career ejection.