The Detroit Tigers made it a habit once again this year to show up early to spring training, and new Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was no different. After winning a directional bout with the parking lot on Sunday, Kinsler made his way to get acquainted with the new clubhouse, greet his teammates and talk with reporters.
"I was driving around the parking lot for a while, trying to find where the players' parking is. It's all new and fresh" Kinsler said. "The Cirque Italia? I thought that was the locker room," he said, joking around (via Jason Beck.)
Sunday he mentioned the weight he'd lost during the off-season instead of his previous normal to gain it. When he was with the Texas Rangers, Kinsler told reporters he'd needed to gain weight for the upcoming season in order to eventually level off because of the Texas heat.
This time, though, it's a different story. "Probably about 10 pounds lighter than I normally am, probably 10-15 pounds," Kinsler said. "It's a lot. Normally in Texas I usually put weight on because of the heat. I know I don't have to worry about that in Detroit."
Part of the weight loss was due to the focus being shifted to offensive speed and a quicker defense. "In Ian's case he had already been working on that and had wanted to emphasis quickness, and we had talked about trying to emphasis some quickness when we got him," said Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, via Fox Sports Detroit.
"As you know his base-stealing totals went down last year. A lot of it I think from an injury-related, and also maybe running on hit-and-runs but also we wanted to make sure that he continued on not being a middle infielder."
Alleviating the angst of adjusting to a new club for the first time in Kinsler's major league career is the acquisition of former Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan, who came over to the Tigers through free agency. Nathan also had Detroit as his top request. Because Kinsler and Nathan already have a bond with each other from Texas, neither will need to get accustomed to how the other operates.
Kinsler played his entire career with the Texas Rangers and had restrictions on his contract if he were ever traded. The Tigers were one of the few teams he was willing to be traded to. "Detroit was No. 1 on my list as far as American League as a place I felt had a very strong opportunity to win a World Series, because of the past three, four years," he told reporters.
Within a minute of speaking to reporters Kinsler stated his focus is to win the World Series Championship, mentioning it not once, but twice. He's understandably thrilled going into Spring Training that the Tigers have that same focus, and they're not being quiet about it.