Kinsler homers in first game in Texas as visitor

Kinsler homers in first game in Texas as visitor

ARLINGTON -- Ian Kinsler had been here before -- in this city, on these basepaths -- but never as a visitor.

And as the Ranger-turned-Tiger approached the plate for his first at-bat on Tuesday, he didn't know how the fans would receive him, didn't know what would happen.

But of one thing he was fairly certain.

"Colby [Lewis is] pitching?" Kinsler said before the game began. "He'll probably throw me a first-pitch fastball."

He was right. The first pitch Lewis dealt him was, indeed, a fastball. As was the second. As was the third. And Kinsler swung for the fences -- home run.

Kinsler, a three-time All-Star second baseman with Texas, began the trot to first base with a subtle smirk on his face as he gave the Rangers' dugout a sly, sarcastic wave.

"Just saying hi," Kinsler said of the gesture. "It was nothing personal at all, I was having a good time. It was my first return home, and to get lucky enough to ... have it go over the fence, it was a good feeling, and I was just having fun."

After Lewis watched his former teammate run the bases, Kinsler exchanged a few words with third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Although Kinsler claimed he was simply having fun with the wave, Lewis wasn't as amused.

"It is what it is. I feel like it's unfortunate. I'm not going to sit here and badmouth Kins. I enjoyed my time with Kins, I enjoyed him as a teammate," Lewis said. "I was disappointed. That's all. Let's leave it at that."

After spending eight seasons with the Rangers, Kinsler was traded last year for first baseman Prince Fielder, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery on a herniated disk in his neck.

On Tuesday morning, after Kinsler had woken up in his own bed and driven his own car to Globe Life Park, muscle memory told him to park in the tunnel and enter the home team's clubhouse.

But a harsh dose of reality told him otherwise.

Despite being in his house with his family in Texas, for the first time, Kinsler was a visitor.

And due to a few remarks he made in Spring Training about the trade, he was uncertain as to how he'd be received.

"I have no idea what to think about it," he said. "I gave everything I had when I played here. I spoke my mind at times. I kept my mouth shut at times. But I enjoyed my time, and I enjoyed playing here, putting the Texas Rangers uniform on in front of the fans."

After all, Kinsler certainly had a slew of memories in that Texas uniform -- his first hit, his first home run, back-to-back World Series appearances.

But on Tuesday, none of that mattered. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus suggested that the home run was just like any other for Kinsler, who received both cheers and boos each time he stepped to the plate.

"He treated it just like any other home run," Ausmus said. "He wasn't any more excited about it."

But for Kinsler, the feeling was one of satisfaction.

"You never really imagine home runs, you know? They just kind of happen," he said.

And on Tuesday, his line drive over the left-field wall had said everything he himself didn't need to.

Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.