Kinsler ejected in error by umpire, Tigers say
Cleveland — The ejection took everybody by surprise, even the ejectee — Ian Kinsler.
He initially had no idea home plate umpire Jordan Baker had tossed him out of the game at the end of the fifth inning.
Nobody in the press box or at Progressive Field knew until Andrew Romine was announced as a pinch hitter for Kinsler in the top of the sixth.
“Kinsler wasn’t even aware that he got thrown out,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He wasn’t paying attention to the home plate umpire. I think Jordan saw something that wasn’t really happening. I really just think it was a misunderstanding.”
Here’s what happened:
Kinsler and first baseman Miguel Cabrera were engaged in an animated discussion as they came into the dugout after the fifth inning. Kinsler, who was beaned by a pitch in the third inning, had been complaining to Baker throughout the game that Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer was never issued a warning after hitting three Tigers hitters.
Baker apparently assumed Kinsler was still complaining about him and gave him the boot.
“What happens is, when a lefty picks to first and the runner takes off and steals, generally the shortstop covers,” Ausmus said, explaining the discussion. “It’s easier for him to come get the throw. Because of the hitter that was up (Mike Napoli), we were shifted toward the third base side, so the shortstop wouldn’t have gotten there in time.
“So Miggy was asking Kinsler and the shortstop, ‘Who’s got coverage?’ You can see him on the video walking and talking to him. And Kinsler says, ‘I got it. I’ll cut across’ — making a sweeping motion. He does this a couple of times. I think the umpire thought he was motioning at him. He was clearly talking to Miggy. I’m sure they’ll look at it. I’ve spoken to him about it.”
Ausmus said in reviewing the video, Kinsler isn’t looking in Baker’s direction at all.
Kinsler was dazed when he took Bauer’s 93 mph fastball off the top of his helmet. Athletic trainer Kevin Rand came out and administered a preliminary concussion test.
“Kevin asked him questions like, ‘What was the count when you got hit?’ He was spot on with all his answers,” Ausmus said. “But I think as he stood out there longer, I think he was getting foggier.
“We were basically checking on him every time he came off the field. If Kevin thought there was an indication that a concussion was there, we would have taken him out immediately. Initially, he didn’t seem to have one.”
Kinsler booted what would likely have been an inning-ending double play in the Indians’ two-run fifth inning. He seemed to stumble when he went for the ball.
“It could have (been affecting him),” Ausmus said. “I would imagine it probably did, quite frankly. ... When he came in after the following inning, I asked him how his head was, he said fine. As the game went on, I think he started to get a headache where he had gotten hit.
“And then after the game, he was a little dizzy. He certainly has some symptoms of a concussion.”
Kinsler was being examined after the game and was not available to the media. Ausmus said he wasn’t certain Kinsler would fly with the team to Minnesota.
Cabrera gets 2,500th hit
Cabrera’s third-inning single was his 2,500 career hit. He is the 100th player in Major League Baseball history to achieve that milestone and the youngest since Hank Aaron did it in 1967.
“It feels good,” Cabrera said. “But like I always say, I need to keep going and try to do my job every day.”
Cabrera joins Aaron, Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Alex Rodriguez and Robin Yount as the only players to get their 2,500th hit in their age-33 season.
He did it with a sore left hand. He was hit by a Bauer fastball in the first inning and throughout the game was shaking and flexing it.
“Sore, very sore,” he said after the game.
He is hopeful with the day off on Monday he will be ready to play Tuesday in Minnesota.
“I played today so, I don’t know,” he said. “Hopefully it is feeling better tomorrow.”
Around the horn
Victor Martinez was hit on his right knee by a pitch for the second time in three days. There was noticeable fluid buildup in the knee, which puts his status for Tuesday in some doubt. “He’s got a nice welt there,” Ausmus said. “We’ve got an off day tomorrow and maybe some of the fluid will get out.”
… J.D. Martinez got three hits Sunday, including a double and three-run home run. They were his first two extra-base hits against the Indians this season.