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Kinsler claims comments misconstrued after ripping Rangers

AP

Ian Kinsler was expecting this kind of reaction — even if he didn’t agree with the way his comments were portrayed.

Kinsler, who was traded from Texas to the Detroit Tigers in the offseason, said Tuesday some critical statements attributed to him in an ESPN The Magazine story were taken out of context. Kinsler was quoted as calling Rangers general manager Jon Daniels a “sleazeball.”

“I’m not happy about it. I think that the story was written for drama, and taken a little out of context,” the Tigers’ new second baseman said. “I understand there were some things directed at the GM, but as far as my teammates and the fans, there’s nothing negative to say about that, and I think the quotes taken about the general manager were taken a little out of context.”

In the ESPN story, Kinsler blamed Daniels for the departure of Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan, who left the organization in October.

“Daniels is a sleazeball,” Kinsler was quoted as saying. “He got in good with the owners and straight pushed Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It’s just ego.”

Kinsler was also quoted as saying he hopes the Rangers lose every game this season:

“To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162.”

Kinsler seemed surprised that comment in particular had gotten so much attention.

“That’s a matter of telling a joke,” he said.

At their spring camp in Surprise, Arizona, the Rangers seemed to take Kinsler’s comments in stride.

“We won’t go 0-162, guaranteed,” manager Ron Washington said.

Third baseman Adrian Beltre said Kinsler is still a friend, and shortstop Elvis Andrus echoed that sentiment.

“He’s there and we’re here now,” Andrus said. “We have to focus on our season. He’s still my friend. I don’t take anything from that.”

Kinsler said when he saw the ESPN story, he knew there would be plenty of talk about it.

Chad Millman, ESPN The Magazine’s Editor in Chief, said the magazine stands by the context in which Kinsler’s statements were presented. Kinsler, meanwhile, said he doesn’t expect to reach out to Daniels any time soon to explain his comments.

“There’s no reason to,” Kinsler said. “He’s a grown man. I think he’s intelligent enough and had enough conversations with me to understand where I stand, and that’s really it.”

Strasburg back in action

Kissimmee Florida AP

Stephen Strasburg pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut for Washington, but Phil Gosselin took advantage of Nationals rookie manager Matt Williams’ defensive shift in the eighth inning to give the Atlanta Braves an 8-4 victory Tuesday.

Gosselin hit a bases-loaded triple to a vacated right field — Williams had ordered a five-man infield with one out and the game tied. The Braves added a fourth run in the inning and won for the first time in eight games this spring.

Strasburg, coming off October surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, allowed one hit and needed only 15 pitches — 11 strikes. Justin Upton singled with one out in the second inning, but was erased on a double play.

Washington’s Ian Desmond was 3 for 3 with a homer, double and stolen base. The first-inning double was the only hit in three innings off Braves starter Kris Medlen.