Tigers' Kinsler, 34, improves with age

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Ian Kinsler

Detroit – Ian Kinsler was asked what age he was going with these days?

“Twenty-eight,” he said. “I'm not trying to fool people.”

He fools people every day. Wednesday was actually his 34th birthday — he may be the youngest-looking 34-year-old in baseball.

Among American League second basemen, Kinsler is:

*Tied for third in average (.301).

*Second in home runs (14).

*Second in RBIs (46).

*Third in OPS (.865).

And he continues to play Gold Glove-worthy defense.

So, manager Brad Ausmus, is Kinsler getting better with age?

“He definitely hasn’t gotten worse,” he said. “I know that he’s been pretty darn good since he got here. I know last year he struggled early in the year, but his body of work in a Tigers uniform is pretty good, on both sides of the ball.

“And it’s remarkable because he’s aged and he continues to maintain it.”

He’s hit safely in 34 of the last 42 games, hitting .305 during that span.

“He’s kind of the catalyst of our team,” Ausmus said. “He’s at the top of the lineup. He brings an edge. He has a fire to win. He’s been around long enough and established himself to the point that he doesn’t worry about his own numbers.

He just wants to win. He doesn’t take a pitch off. He’s a great example to set.”

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It’s been a heck of month for him.

He hit a walk-off single to beat the Blue Jays, he had the first five-RBI game of his career against the Yankees, he homered in three consecutive games, registered his 1,600th career hit and scored his 1,000th career run.

With two more home runs, he will become the 40th player in Major League history to achieve 200 homers, 200 stolen bases, 1,500 hits and 1,000 runs.

Like fine wine, this guy.

No rest for Miggy

It’s a touchy subject with the skipper, understandably so.

He has been trying to give Miguel Cabrera a day off for more than two weeks now. He began talking about it at the beginning of the road trip. In fact, he vowed he’d give Cabrera a day off during the trip.

It didn’t happen. Cabrera was hitting too well and they were facing division rivals, the White Sox and Royals.

He also knows keeping Cabrera out of the lineup angers the paying public.

“I will eventually (give him a day) and everyone will be ticked off,” he said. “But he is going to have to get a day off.”

The Tigers are off on Monday, so Ausmus may be tempted to give Cabrera Sunday off. But that’s not set in stone.

“No one wants me to give Miggy a day off at home,” Ausmus said. “No one wants him to sit against a division opponent. You don’t want to give him a day off after the team has a scheduled day off. So you are down to about 20 days you can give the guy a day off.

“And if he’s hot, you don’t want to give him a day off – so now you are down to 10 days. It gets to be a little ludicrous. He’s going to get a day off at some point and people are going to be ticked off – and I don’t really care.”

Around the horn

…Justin Upton took an 11-game hitting streak into the game Wednesday. He’s hitting .311 over that stretch with four home runs and 14 RBIs.

…Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Michael Fulmer, who was pulled after just 4.1 innings Wednesday, was battling dehydration. Fulmer complained that he felt dizzy early in the game and never felt right.

…Kinsler, who had a game-tying single Tuesday night, is hitting .351 (20 for 57) this season with runners in scoring position, which is sixth in the American League.

…Cameron Maybin is loving life at Comerica Park. He has hit safely in all 16 games he’s played at home this season, hitting .484.

…The latest All-Star votes have been tabulated and it’s not looking good for Tigers. Miguel Cabrera is second to Eric Hosmer at first base. Kinsler and Nick Castellanos both are fifth at their positions and Victor Martinez is sixth among designated hitters.

Twitter @cmccosky